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5 Tips for Hosting a Stress-Free, Last-Minute Holiday Party

You didn’t plan on having a holiday party this year. But after scrolling through Pinterest and feeling inspired by all of the colorful Christmas decorations and festive recipes, you’re left with some serious hosting #goals. Good news — it’s not too late! You can easily throw a fab and festive last-minute affair with little to no stress. We’ve got a few tricks and tips up our sleeves to help get you geared up.

Send out e-invitations

Eco-friendly e-invitations from sites like Paperless Post are easy to create and mail out on a whim. They’ll also take a lot of stress out of the equation; the last thing you want is to be left wondering who is going to show up on the day of. Send invites, request an RSVP, and stock up accordingly so you can keep your guests fed and satisfied.

Opt for a casual mingle over a sit-down dinner

Sit-down meals are nice and all, but save ’em for other occasions. A holiday mingle is the perfect excuse to invite your favorite people over without the stress of putting on a big show. Since December is busy for everyone, your guests will appreciate the idea of a low-key soirée just as much as you do! Everyone loves a wine and cheese party, but if you want to go for a different angle, draft up a simple drink menu, pick out some easy crowd-pleasing foods, and keep things super casual.

Serve simple finger foods

Save your slow cooker for the mulled wine, because no ones wants to mingle while juggling a drink and a limp paper plate full of heavy foods. Grazing-type snacks are totally where it’s at. Think one-bite and three-ingredient appetizers, like crostini and mini tarts. On top of that, a simple cheese board goes a long way and always looks elegant.

Set Up A Self-Serve Bar

Asking your guests to serve themselves isn’t rude or tacky at all. It gives you a reason to set up a cute drink station lined with wine glasses and sparkly stir sticks. (Pinterest win!) Stock your beer fridge, set out your wine, put out a bowl of punch, and let ’em have at it. You can also include a signature cocktail to keep things interesting without going overboard. Whatever you do, don’t play bartender, or you’ll spend the entire night shaking and stirring and missing out on all the action.

Don’t Obsess Over Decor

We all want to set the scene for the perfect evening, but most of your guests won’t notice half of your decor. Chances are what you’ve already got going on with your cozy holiday home setup is sufficient. Put the fireplace on, string up some little white lights, and set out a few flameless flickering candles for a warming glow. Because let’s be real: It’s all about the food and the drinks anyway.

For more holiday party inspo, follow us on Pinterest.

Dana Sandonato
Born in Canada and now living in the beautiful state of North Carolina, Dana is a coffee-reliant food writer with a healthy appetite, a taste for culinary adventure, a thirst for good beers, and an endless hunger for food photography. When not writing for Brit + Co, she can be found pouring herself into her blog-turned-webzine, Killing Thyme, or taste-testing at local breweries with her husband. Dana's ideal down time includes pizza, marathoning on Netflix, or watching her fave flicks from the 80s and 90s - no matter how great or awful they are!

Ahhh, fall. There are so many things to love about this time of year (give us ALL the sweaters and pumpkin-flavored eats). But, high on the list comes autumn decor candles, throws, textiles — you name it. Of course, buying items and actually adding them to your room are two different things. So we're turning to Instagram for the best styling advice and inspo for the season. Scroll on to see everything you need to get those wheels turning!

@sbkliving: Sometimes, it only takes a chic doormat to transition your front steps for the season. Hello, fall!

@rachelpuccetti: Excuse us while we spend an entire lazy Sunday relaxing in this fall-infused space.

@farmhousetofrills: A monochrome mantel never looked so chic. (That fireplace pumpkin setup is seriously *genius*.)

@faith_hope_home: Greet guests with a fall-themed entrance to set the tone for a day of pumpkin carving or scary movie marathoning.

@simplysoutherncottage: Don't forget about those nooks and crannies! This entryway/mudroom situation is capturing our little harvest-loving hearts.

@6thirtydecor: Speaking of pumpkins, pick up a few extra gourds to pave the way into your cozy autumn abode.

@farmsteadonfirst: That guest bedroom you weren't sure what to do with it? Transform it into a rustic retreat with some fall signage and mustard-yellow and green accents.

@fiddleleafinteriors: We're going to take a second to *swoon* over this adorable kitchen setup. Those farmhouse accents and simple centerpiece setup? We're in love.

@ohmydearblog: Contrary to what you think, florals *aren't* just for spring. Bring them into your abode by selecting buds in moody tones to pay homage to the season.

@simply.mrs.z: Drawn to modern style? Play up the Halloween vibes by picking black, orange and brass accents to rock on places like your bookshelf. (Bonus points for carrying the theme over to your textiles.)

@drivewaytodreams_crystal: We're going to go ahead and give two thumbs up to all of these orange-hued accents. Backdropped with a neutral furnishings and they truly *pop*!

@cripcollectiveig: For those who don't want to go overboard with the "fall stuff" this one will speak to you. Compile a couple of cute throws and a minimalist pumpkin print on your mantle and you're set

@cavcottage: Who said fun pillows were limited to furnishings only? We're ALL about this entry display.

@houseon77th: This daybed setup is a *dream*. But actually, this would be the perfect space to doze off in come the colder days.

@kristenforgione: For a more festive Halloween look, overhaul your living space with a spooky handmade addition like this one. *Googles paper bat DIYs.*