Holiday Event Planning

Throwing a party can be a bit like jumping off a high dive: It's exciting to take the first plunge, but can quickly feel like you're several feet underwater. Planning can be especially challenging during the holiday season when most of us are already drowning in the inevitable merry mix of chaos that December brings.

Posh and Classic know a thing or two about throwing a successful shindig and are happy to share some do's and don'ts that could save your sanity – and your party.

1. DO go big or go weird.

Two choices: You can either embrace the holiday spirit in all of its cheesy, cliché splendor and string so many lights on your house that it's visible from space, or you can do something unexpected. Throw a twist on your holiday party. Your guests will get their fill of eggnog and sugar cookies elsewhere. A wacky, less conventional theme will make your party stand out.

2. DO be inclusive.

While you're never going to be able to please everyone, you'll come a lot closer to hitting that goal if you get a variety of food and drinks, and make a simple substitution here and there, like French macarons instead of cupcakes or cookies. They're gorgeous, they're colorful, and they're naturally gluten-free.

Also, remember that not everyone drinks alcohol. It's great to have things like hot cider or sparkling juice for teetotalers. Variety is your friend. Your [alcohol free, gluten-free, vegan, etc. – fill in the blank] guests will thank you for it.

3. DO batched cocktails.

Unless you plan to hire a professional bartender for the night, making batched drinks is a great way to assure your guests get a tasty, well-balanced drink. We've all seen (and been) the guest who pours a full cup of whiskey and throws in a splash of ginger ale. A batched cocktail can make your liquor reserves go further and save you a little money. Check out 18 amazing two-ingredient here.

4. DON'T use your own plates and cups.

I know it's tempting to show off your Heath Ceramics, but are you really trying to wash every dish you own at 2 a.m.? I didn't think so. You can simplify without sacrificing aesthetic or the environment – there are beautiful, compostable plates made out of pressed leaves and bamboo. Your future hungover self will thank you for creating a situation where all you have to do is take out the trash (and compost) the next day.

5. DON'T do anything with mustaches.

It's over, just leave it.

6. DON'T do hot food.

Chances are you'll have a highly-flammable dead tree wrapped in electrical wiring on the premises. Do you really want to add to the list of things that can catch on fire during your event? Chafing dishes, Sterno – let it go. I promise your guests are going to be cool with the room temp crostini, hummus, and dates stuffed with goat cheese that you lay out.

7. DON'T make open-ended statements about what to bring.

Say it loud and proud: "Bring a bottle of wine or your favorite beer to share." "Dips and cookie plates are welcome!" Or on the flipside, let your guests know you are happy to host them and all they need to bring is their merriest 'tude.

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