Here are my tips that I have learned through failures and successes. The most important thing to remember is the ONLY GOAL when having a party is to MAKE MEMORIES WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
1. Setting up a buffet table: put plates at the beginning. Napkins and flatware at the end so guests have a free hand to serve themselves. You can spray paint flower pots to put flatware in or use baskets etc. *I like the clear plastic flatware from Costco and Sam’s.
2. Ask a couple of friends to be the first through the buffet line. I have found people are hesitant to begin until someone has started.
3. Don’t forget to decorate outside. It can be simple but guests will be put in the party mood when they see festive decorations upon arriving.
4. Drink station – I keep my selection limited so a large preparation isn’t needed. I use galvanized buckets with ice to cool down beverages. Keep a wine opener and bottle opener at station. I let beer drinkers drink from the bottle. ** I have purchased glass wine glasses cheaply buy using the coupons from Bed,Bath and Beyond. Typically I paid $8 for 12 glasses and have saved money over the years because I am not have to buy plastic cups.
5. Garbage-I keep two large garbage cans outside the back door so I can clear away trash quickly. I start with an empty dishwasher so I can quickly stash the used plates and glasses.
6. Once everyone has arrived, I take a moment to welcome them, open the buffet and remind them drinks are self-served.
7. Circulate among your guests taking the time to introduce guests with common interests ie same college alumni, favorite sport teams, similar jobs, originally from same state etc.
8. I have in the past had Carolers come sing, had a friend play the piano for a Carol sing-a-long, tree ornament exchange, cookie decorating for kids, ugly sweater party, winter wonderland theme-everyone dress in white.
If you need a theme idea search the internet. You will find all sorts of links with ideas and remember you don’t have to have a theme or implement a theme exactly as it is presented, use the link below to the planning worksheets I use when I plan a party.