A few weeks ago, after decorating our apartment in spades, we decided to host a Christmas party. At first, I’d pictured something more like other parties we’ve thrown — salty snacks, delicious drinks and people milling around chatting and laughing. But then it dawned on me! What if we threw a dinner party? The idea stuck.
This past Saturday, we had over a small group of friends to squish around our dining room table for a Feliz Navidad-themed night. We served tortilla soup and my boyfriend’s beef tacos (which are unreal), traded gifts in a white elephant exchange, and ended the night with Love Actually playing in the background. It was so fun for everyone to get together, and it felt like the kind of perfectly-festive night that I hope for this time of year.
One particularly spot-on white elephant gift, which was positioned on our tree for the rest of the night.
Here are a few of the things that I’ve learned with one dinner party under my belt.
1. Mix up the group. We had seven guests (including ourselves), and we kept the group pretty eclectic. A best friend, a couple of friends from high school, one from work and one from college. Initially, I was a little worried that it would be awkward since no one knew each other, but it ended up working out so well! Instead of people falling into grooves of who they chatted with, the conversation flowed freely between everyone, and Tim and I were able to break the ice as needed.
2. The details matter. I am a huge fan of everything interior decor-related, so I had so much fun picking out a centerpiece and matching runner for the table. Since we spent most of the night at the table, I felt like my efforts really paid off! Most of the decor-related touches were simple — a candle lit in the bathroom, ample coasters available on our side tables, and a mistletoe hanging in an archway.
3. Let go of perfectionism. That said, everything doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be a memorable, joyful night. We had seven people squished around a table meant for six, and once everyone was seated, it made no difference! We all talked and laughed and bumped elbows like old friends. Everyone feels a bit more relaxed when everything isn’t perfect — it’s okay to let those little things slide in order to have a good time.
4. Plan an activity. We had a white elephant gift exchange between dinner and dessert, which worked well in mixing things up and providing entertainment. I think Cards Against Humanity (with expansion packs, especially) is perfect for this too! It’s nice to have something to do to take the “pressure” off of conversation.
Do you have any tips for entertaining? I love having people over and am already brainstorming future dinner ideas. ;)