I love celebrating Christmas, and I love celebrating my girlfriends, so every year I host Chicksmas. Chicksmas is a casual, low key ‘party’ where the priority is that my girlfriends and I spend time together laughing, catching up, and getting into the holiday spirit, which means we eat great food and drink great drinks while watching Christmas movies in our Christmas PJs. This is quite possibly my favorite event each year because it includes a small, intimate guest list (my sisters and my closest friends), and as far as hosting goes, I’m not under a lot of pressure to entertain because of this. I get to sit back and relax with my family and friends, which is what the holidays are all about! I thought I would share my planning tips and tricks so you can start a new tradition (or add to a current tradition) and have your own Chicksmas each year.
Here are the “5 Ds” for planning and hosting an event: Dishes, Decor, Diet (not the boring kind), Details, and Discussion. If you’re looking to host a fun, budget-friendly, low-key holiday party with friends or family or both, here are the 5 things you can do to accomplish that.
- Dishes. To save time and money in the long run, invest in serving dishes that are not specific to a style or holiday theme. I am linking my faves to give you an idea. One of my favorite brands is The Cellar at Macy’s because their collection has modern, simple, and affordable dishes that are appropriate for all occasions. You can find their brand online or in store. My go-to dishes include: this drink dispenser, these The Cellar TidBit Plates (on sale right now – a set of 4 for $14.49!!!), The Cellar three-tiered serving dish, and The Cellar cheese board (also on sale!). You can use all of these year-round and they go with almost any theme.
- Decor. Luckily, I live in a small apartment, so my decor budget is pretty small. My advice to save money and time again is to invest in timeless pieces that will last you, but each year you can add a few trendy touches because it’s fun to be trendy! I think that less is more, so I just have a Christmas tree and then for the duration of the holiday season, I swap out my everyday accents with Christmas-themed accents. Here are some pics to give you an idea of what my place is looking like this year. All of my decor was purchased at Target (primarily the dollar section), Hobby Lobby (specifically my tree ornaments), and H&H Homestead (my mother’s home decor business – check it out!).
- Diet. Once you have your dishes, it’s time to plan the menu. I have curated a variety of menus over the years. From brunch food to appetizers, to desserts, to “everyone bring your favorite dish” – we’ve done it all. For my most recent party, everyone brought a dish. We were all swamped with work and tired already from the holiday season, so my job as hostess was super easy this year. I simply picked up a chicken nugget tray from Chick-fil-a and a cookie cake from Great American Cookie Company (my FAVE) on my way home from work, fixed up a cheese board, and made the signature cocktail. You might be judging me for the chicken nuggets, but I was sure to arrange them in a respectable way by adding a few rosemary and cranberry accents. Remember: No labels on the table!! See my pics below for ideas on how to fancy up a chicken nugget tray. I also had popcorn and candy ready to go for the Christmas movie portion of the evening (also pictured below), and my fabulous guests brought various appetizers (think: vegetable trays and various dips) to fill in the gaps. We are a very easy group – give us some fried chicken and a cocktail, and we’re happy. Speaking of the signature cocktail, it was a champagne punch, and it was DELISH and super easy to make. You just put all of the ingredients in a drink dispenser or punch bowl and mix it together, and voila! You have the perfect girly cocktail. I found the recipe on All Recipes – here’s the link.
4. Details. Now that the big ideas are taken care of, it’s time to focus on the details. I truly believe that it’s all in the details. I’m a detail-oriented person, so my favorite things about a party, outfit, vacation, etc. are the details. I’m going to provide links for a few of my party details, but most of my small details and (all good things in general) come from the Target Dollar Section, so my word of advice is for everyone to peruse the dollar section at their local Target for cute and affordable decor. Okay, back to the Christmas party. To set the holiday mood, I had “Fireplace for your Home” playing on the TV via Netflix (see picture below). We do not have a fireplace in our apartment, so this was the next best thing. I also had a pot of homemade potpourri simmering on the stove. This stovetop potpourri is an embodiment of Christmas and it smells SO GOOD. Here’s the recipe that I stole from Half Baked Harvest and the adorable Martha Stewart cast iron dutch oven I use to do so. I also made small mason jars of the same potpourri as party favors, so when my guests walk in and say, “Oh my gosh, it smells so good!” I could hand them a jar of potpourri and tell them they can make their home smell like Christmas too. 😉 A few other small touches I add to my party set up include these $3.00 “Let’s Get Lit” cocktail napkins, black slate coasters (because dark colors are all the rage this holiday season), holiday candles, and a few Poinsettias sporadically placed around the apartment. I also dressed up my bar cart, which is probably one of my favorite pieces in our apartment, so check out my pics below for inspo!
5. Discussion. I know I’ve had a successful event when I see my guests laughing and having great conversations instead of scrolling through their Instagram feed. I love games, so I try to buy a few throughout the year and keep them on hand for sleepovers, wine nights, dinner parties, etc. A few of my favorites are What Do You Meme (warning: adult content); The Game of Things; Quelf (family friendly) Who’s Most Likely To; and classic games like Uno, Clue (this Harry Potter version is AMAZING), and Trivial Pursuit. Games bring us back to simpler times before cell phones and social media, and your guests will appreciate the break from their group message, I assure you!