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How to Host a Party That Everyone Will Remember

Hosting a party that every guest recalls for years to come is the goal of any good host. It takes a lot of work, both before and during the party to make it memorable, but sometimes you also want the party that you threw to be the one that gets talked about afterward in a good way rather than in an “Uncle Larry spilled his wine on Aunt Edith’s holiday dress” kind of way. Other times, the key to a memorable party is to be sure that guests can remember it in the first place.

Drinking is usually expected at parties, and all too often, someone over imbibes, embarrassing both themselves and other guests at the party.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that just as recently as 2015, 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving while impaired by alcohol. They say this is even a small number compared to the “111 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.”

So how do you make sure that your guests are having a great time but not overdoing it?

“In my mind ‘it takes two to tango,’” says business etiquette coach Syndi Seid on her blog Advanced Etiquette. “As the host, you should do all you can to prevent guests from over-indulging.  As a guest, it is your responsibility not to get drunk.”

Plan the entertainment so that drinking doesn’t become the only event

This can apply to parties of any size – small family gatherings, office parties, and large gatherings.

“Some of the guests won’t know each other so your game should serve as a means for individuals to easily interact and talk to one another,” suggests Shutterfly, a lifestyle products manufacturer geared toward helping people make and keep memories. “It can take time for your party guests to get comfortable, so it’s best if you can kick off the party with your chosen Christmas party game once everyone arrives. This will help your guests become engaged and will break the ice for everyone who doesn’t know each other.”

Their blog listed 30 party games and activities that can be found here. They include activities like:

  • Human Christmas Tree
  • Stocking Guessing Game
  • Christmas Carol Pictionary
  • Funniest Christmas Presents (True or Not)

“The goal of your adult Christmas party game is to make sure your guests are enjoying themselves. Make sure you choose light-hearted games that will be engaging and allow for your guests to learn funny tidbits about one another,” they recommended.

Emphasize the important parts of why everyone is together.

92 percent of Americans believe holidays are a time to say thanks to friends and family, but many confess they tend to be thankful for material possessions rather than people. To combat that trend, plan the theme and maybe an activity or two that guides conversations toward positive topics.

Try one of these interactive activities that go throughout the whole party, or at a special time to bring everyone together.

  • Ask guests to share why they are thankful
  • Ask your guests to bring something to place on the dinner table that is meaningful to them to talk about
  • Create a craft, such as a Thanksgiving Tree, that has leaf-shaped pieces of paper for guests to put their memories on
  • Decorate your home with pictures from the past year

Create a signature cocktail and have plenty of festive non-alcoholic alternatives

An open bar or even a neverending supply of wine is a surefire way to ensure that someone will overdrink, end the night in tears or vomit, or spill something on your couch.  Opt instead for one signature drink that’s not too strong but still has a festive flair. A big pot of hot mulled wine with spices floating in it is fun, makes the house smell wonderful and can contain up to half orange juice. Your guests will still feel like they’re having a great time but it’s the kind of drink that’s hard to overindulge in.

There are also multiple places to find non-alcoholic holiday recipes, or “mock”-tails, such as this list by Martha Stewart or this one slow-cooker pumpkin spice latte from Betty Crocker.

Have a guest bed made up in case you need to insist that someone stay the night

Don’t ever let someone drive away from your house if they’re intoxicated. It’s your responsibility as a host to make sure that your guests have a safe way to get home or a place to sleep if they need to stay over.

Despite precautions to keep your guests from drinking too much, it’s a good idea to be prepared ahead of time for how you will handle intoxicated guests should the need arise – keeping their keys, calling a cab for them, or having a guest bed made up so that they can stay the night. Despite urban legend, no amount of coffee can actually sober up a drunk guest.

Making up a guest room with basic overnight gear such as new toothbrush and toothpaste can go a long way in convincing someone to stay.

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