Drawing nearer to the end of the year, we all have some time to reflect on the year that was while laying down our plans for 2022, and all around the country, we’ll be exchanging thoughts, celebrating victories, and yes, mourning losses too.

The sticky gluey stuff that’s going to keep it all together? Food. Certainly in the United States, we’re a nation of hearty eaters that covers the entire culinary world of experiences.

But we also know that bringing it all together requires more than just great food – it requires a party. A fest if you like, and to that end, we’re going to give you just a few ideas to get you inspired to create one of your very own.

FIRST, ORGANIZE YOUR DATES

If you’re only planning one party this season, or you fancy yourself the host with the most you’re going to save yourself endless drama by taking a look at your calendar and getting a few dates (or just the one) locked and loaded. This will allow you to plan your catering and entertainment accordingly, taking care not to repeat anything and keeping all of your ideas in one strategic place.

PLAN YOUR MENUS

Now that you have your dates down, you can start planning your menus. Exciting, experimental, traditional, fusion – whatever you’re planning on as a theme for your party, your menu should reflect some of it, or be a combination of a couple of different styles. Be cautious not to design an overstimulated menu. Too many rich, starchy dishes are not going to score you any points at all, while an entire menu comprised of the ubiquitous rabbit food is the other end of the extreme and your next RSVP should probably turn out a little thin as a result.

Festive fare doesn’t have to be waistline busting, you can prepare healthy and hearty meals too, just like this homemade cream of chicken soup recipe.

DESIGN SIGNATURE COCKTAILS

Libation is an essential element of a good party and when enjoyed responsibly can be something of a highlight in and of itself. Try out this take on the Moscow Mule.

Any cocktail that you can make with alcohol, you can make without so don’t feel pressured to create boozy menus if you’re not a drinker or if your guests are not either.

IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE

As you’re working through your holiday schedule and planning your parties, remember to plan your music too. It’s not a party without music and investing some time into creating themed playlists that start more chilled and relaxed and build-up to more appropriate party music is a great way to set (and manage) the tone of the evening.

Remember that responsible entertaining is not just the right thing to do as the host of the party, but it is also the legally required thing to do, and if your guests have enjoyed a little too much of the party then be the host that takes the lead and have a taxi service on standby or the guest room with fresh towels.

However, you celebrate this season, be well, blessed, happy, and safe.