Holidays mean party planning. Whether it’s a corporate event or a fun shindig for friends and family, let our step-by-step holiday party planner be your guide.

Create a party plan

First things first… you’ll need to nail down the basics. Determine the date, time, venue and guest count. If it’s a work event, do you want it to be casual or elegant? A lunchtime party at the office might be a great choice if you’re going for a relaxed get-together. If you want to create a more high-end atmosphere, cocktails and/or dinner at an in-demand destination is the way to go. Toronto offers an incredible array of Christmas party venues, like The Next Level meeting space at the Anndore House. This sleek, open-concept space can accommodate 25 for dining or 80 for a cocktail-style celebration, and has a comfortable lounge area to facilitate networking.

Design your menu

Cost and complexity are the first things to determine when you’re planning your holiday party menu. For catered events, plan ahead and do your research, as this is the busiest time of the year. Provide a selection that will please every palate. More and more people are choosing plant-based, gluten-free and low-sugar lifestyles, so make sure your menu offers more than charcuterie and foie gras. Elevate the flavour profile with seasonal ingredients like cranberries, ginger, citrus and bourbon. Because you’ll be watching alcohol consumption carefully, make sure your selection really shines — recruit a wine-savvy friend or colleague to curate a selection of local VQA Ontario wines, and provide food pairings to enhance the experience.

If you’re entertaining at home, cut down on time in the kitchen with a few key store-bought extras, and set “make ahead only” as your mantra. After all, you want to spend your time relaxing and having fun, not sweating over a hot stove. A finger-food menu is often the best choice, as it means you can push the table out of the way and have more space for dancing and less cleanup time required later.

Hate leftovers? Providing to-go boxes is a great way to cut down on waste — and ensure you’ll have space for turkey in the fridge! For drinks, a big-batch cocktail is a fun and festive timesaver. Let your guests dress up their cocktails with a variety of garnishes for an added touch.

Plan an activity

Themes and activities are great ways to create a festive mood and get your guests talking — especially if they don’t know each other or aren’t used to seeing one another outside of work. Classic holiday activities like tree trimming, a secret-Santa gift exchange or door prizes will help set the mood. You can also use the opportunity to give back to your community. Ask guests to bring an item to donate to a cause like Socks 4 Souls Canada, which provides new, clean socks to the homeless, or Holiday Helpers, which provides Christmas packages to low-income families with young kids.

Follow these tips for guaranteed holiday fun and a party your guests will be talking about well into 2020!


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