A Guide to Throwing a Small-Scale Holiday Party

The holidays are upon us, and whether you’re scaling back your celebration or just into the snacks and comradery with virtual friends, there’s good reason to celebrate!

While actual dinner parties may be off the table this year, intimate or virtual gatherings with family and friends are meant to be easy!

But of course, there are always a few things to consider. Food is at the top of the list — as is thinking through some of the details to make your life easier so you can join in the festivities yourself.

The Set-up

The beauty of a small holiday party is the simple set-up — thankfully, no one is expecting nice glasses or cloth napkins. So here are our favorite tips to ensure your space is ready:

  • Get crazy and move furniture around to create an open, comfy space around the TV for a holiday movie night. Maybe even borrow bean bags or floor pillows to encourage hanging out together, even if it means lounging on the floor.
  • Set out a cooler stocked with beverages (include fizzy water and Coke for some non-alcoholic options), so everyone can help themselves.
  • Choose food that doesn’t need to be reheated or fussed with.
  • Place a trash and recycling can where they’re easily accessible, so they’ll (hopefully) tidy up and take care of their trash as the afternoon ticks on.

buffalo chicken dip warm out of the oven

buffalo chicken dip warm out of the oven

The Snacks

Let’s not waste any time here: we all know the snacks are the most important part of any holiday, but this year instead of going over the top with numerous dips, we’re simplifying and aiming for elevated appetizers the whole family will love!

When we start thinking through our shopping list, grabbing a few boxes of TRISCUIT Crackers, RITZ Crackers and refreshing Coca-Cola is a solid start. Then we always pick up olives, a bunch of different cheeses, some sliced veggies, and dips.

On the menu this year are these TRISCUIT Ham, Cheese and Jam Toppers and RITZ “Deli” Sandwiches. Each incorporates the classic crackers we fell in love with as kids in new grown-up ways (and we love that TRISCUIT Crackers are baked with 100% whole grain wheat).

Games and Activities

On one hand, you don’t need many games if everyone’s actually watching the holiday movie or conversing with one another. But more often than not, there’s a few small people (or even big people) who could really use a little something to do to stay out of the cook’s hair.

If your space allows, we love creating an entirely separate area that’s not right in front of the TV. This way, movie fans can watch the holiday flick and everyone else has a chance to enjoy snacks, listen to tunes, play games, and practice their dance moves.

A few of our favorite go-to activities the whole family will love:

  • Operation
  • Twister (yes, even adults love a good game of Twister!)
  • Cards: Old Maid for the kids, Gin Rummy for the teens and adults
  • Board Games: We love Ticket to Ride for older kids and adults and, of course, Candy Land’s a big hit with the younger crowd
  • Sidewalk Chalk and bubbles (if the weather’s nice)

Homemade Taquitos with chicken

Homemade Taquitos with chicken

Pulling it all Together: Your Checklist!

If this is your first small holiday gathering with family, don’t stress! Most everything can be done in advance, and keep in mind: the vibe is casual! Here’s your checklist:

  1. Get the grocery shopping out of the way: we love to make the shopping easier by ordering all of our groceries for delivery when possible.
  2. Stock up on paper plates, napkins, and extra paper towels.
  3. Dust off your cooler and pick up plenty of ice.
  4. Make sure you’ve got extra trash bags on hand.
  5. On the day of, set up a little separate corner or area where the kids can hang.