Pick a Theme
This gives both you and your guests a point of focus for everything from food to decorations to attire. A simple theme makes it easier to make decisions and prioritize expenses, menu items, and timing of your gathering. Is this a costume or pajama party? A potluck? A kickback? A sit-down dinner? Start with the theme and go from there. It needn't be extravagant or complicated.
Make what you can...
...and buy the rest! Y'all probably know that I am big on homemade things but when you're throwing a party, it's not always easy or prudent to make anything from scratch. In the words of Sweet Brown "Ain't nobody got time fah dat!" In these situations, I give myself grace and purchase some items or components from brands I trust and feel comfortable serving to my friends and family. Also, I've added an Appetizers page here on the blog and am posting a roundup of party-appropriate foods soon if you need some inspiration on what to serve!
Use a Crockpot
The crockpot is one of the most helpful entertaining tools I can think of because it allows me to truly multitask. It cooks up the meatballs or whatever I put into it while I do other things. I made our Thanksgiving candied yams in a crockpot this year and they turned out great! If you serve out of the crockpot, you also don't have to worry about the food getting cold. Just put it on the "warm" setting. We have a few crockpots but the one I use and love the most has a lockable lid so I can travel with it. It's been with me for a minute--I bought it in college to make Velveeta dip! I'll link some crock pot options below.
If somebody wants to bring ice, let them. Something is inevitably forgotten on the day of and rather than stress yourself out or risk being absent to make a store run, take up the offer of that friend that texts you "Can I bring anything?" Respond to them "YES, PLEASE!" I tend to get caught up in trying to be Superwoman but to drive home Sweet Brown's point from my second tip, I'll quote the Queen (Beyonce, duh.) "I ain't sorry!" Nobody can do it all and you'll save yourself a lot of stress by letting people help you.
Have a [Bomb] Playlist
We all have that one friend who is a great DJ but...what if he can't make it? It's always a good idea to have a playlist or mix ready to go regardless. Here is a link to my Current Christmas Playlist on Spotify. I think that qualifies as a gift from me to you. 🙂 I'm playing it right now and probably non-stop (with breaks for Bruno Mars, J. Cole, and Solange) until the holidays are over. There are new songs, classics, and lots of Mariah Carey because, let's face it, she owns Christmas music. I also slid the Dance of the Flutes from The Nutcracker Suite in there because I used to perform to it during our Christmas productions back in my ballet days, so it's sentimental to me. Here's the lineup:
- Let it Snow - Boyz II Men
- All I Want for Christmas is You (Original Version) - Mariah Carey
- Up on the Houstetop - Pentatonix
- Santa, Baby - Eartha Kitt
- O Holy Night - Mariah Carey
- Hallelujah - Pentatonix
- This Christmas - Chris Brown
- Jesus Born on This Day - Mariah Carey
- The Nutcracker, Op. 71: XII. Dance of the Flutes - Tchaikovsky
- Santa Claus is Comin to Town - The Jackson 5
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Michael Buble
- Silent Night - Mariah Carey
- 8 Days of Christmas - Destiny's Child
- Miss You Most (at Christmas Time) - Mariah Carey
- The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You) - Nat King Cole
- Ave Maria - Beyonce
- Joy to the World - Mariah Carey
I hope these tips are helpful and that you take some time to jam my playlist this season! I'd love to hear your favorite Christmas songs below in the comments. Thanks for reading!
Photography by: Joshua Farris | Makeup by: Bella by Ashley Monique
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Ahh this is so perfect! That playlist is amazing too. Using a crockpot is soo important and you don't have to worry about anything getting cold. Love this!
Jasmine S. says
Yes to the accept help!! I'm so bad at this, but whenever I do it's such a relief. Great tips, Jazz!
Perfect list! Crock pot is a must, and accepting help is essential 🙂
Great tips! My crock pot is my best friend all year long, but around the holidays it truly become my BFF. Your play list is awesome, the only song I would add is 'This Christmas' - Chris Brown. this is my all time favorite version of that song. Merry Christmas!
Thank you and Merry Christmas to you, too! We have the same taste--"This Christmas" is already on the list lol!
I am copying down your playlist now! I am a huge fan of Christmas music, but because it only comes once a year, often forget what songs I want to play. Love this!
Hi, Erin. You can just click the link and listen directly to the whole playlist on Spotify for free! Thanks for reading!
Rebecca Hicks says
I love these pictures! You look stunning. And great tips! Thanks for sharing 🙂
I'm loving that Christmas playlist. Definitely gonna have to give it a listen, I'm loving all the Mariah on it haha! Thanks for sharing!!
Yes, no Christmas playlist is complete without Mariah. Thanks for reading, Kate!
A crock pot is so helpful! I have a hard time letting people help, but I'm getting better. Thanks for sharing these tips.
Ooooo, I love all the songs on your playlist! And the fur table runner is brilliant!
Thanks! I found the table runner at Marshalls and it's one of my favorite decor pieces.
Amy Smith says
Really great suggestions. Yes, always accept help for sure.