Hosting a Party

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6 Sites for Planning the Perfect Holiday Party

December 09, 2010
by Lindsey Chapman
The holiday season is fast approaching, and with it comes the joy of spending some extra special time with friends and loved ones. If you need some help planning a holiday party while trying to survive the hustle and bustle of the season, these Web sites can get you off on the right foot.

Choose a Party Theme

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There’s plenty of legwork to do before you can get into the finer details of planning your holiday bash. DIY Network helps you choose a party theme and organize activities, such as games and dancing, that you may want to incorporate into the celebration. There are also several hints to help make sure your party goes off without a hitch. Look for tips from top chefs, advice on hosting a worry-free party and even help throwing a party on a budget. Not only is this site useful for holiday party planning, but it also has ideas for celebrations you may want to host throughout the year.

Gather Food and Drink Ideas

What’s a holiday party without plenty of food and drink options? Once you’ve chosen your party theme, head over to Food Network for help putting your menu together. This site’s incredibly useful menus accommodate party guests of all ages and interests. Look for food suggestions that kids will enjoy, and creative menus for casual or more elegant parties. If you’re all thumbs when it comes to working in the kitchen, don’t worry: there are even videos that offer extra help creating some of the tasty morsels found here.

When you’re ready to top off your meal with a nice drink, the options can seem endless. CocktailDB is an authoritative yet playful liquor encyclopedia. Find a recipe database with advanced search features, and helpful advice on barware and exotic ingredients. Make use of the "Mixilator," the site’s “random cocktail generator” that asks you a few simple questions and then finds a drink recipe to suit your tastes. Be advised that the site often recommends cocktails containing international ingredients that can be difficult to find.

If you’re hunting for a nonalcoholic drink, there are plenty of ideas in that area, too. Flora’s Drink Hideout has a long list of nonalcoholic drink recipes. Some are direct substitutes for alcoholic beverages (like the “Champagne,” which is made with white grape juice and club soda), while others are inventive variations on punch.

Send Party Invitations

Once you’re ready to round up some guests for your party, AmericanGreetings.com can help you tailor an online invitation for the specific occasion you’re celebrating. See the “Occasions” section for a list of possibilities. Even if you don’t have a particular occasion in mind for your party, the “invites” section can help you design your own invitations. For an invitation you can pop in the mail, try the "Photo Cards" feature to make an invitation with your own images.

Decorate Your Home

If you’re planning to host a Christmas party, there are scores of ways to transform your home into the perfect setting. MarthaStewart.com has lots of innovative and beautiful Christmas decoration ideas to make your home festive. You’ll find photos that illustrate each project, along with step-by-step instructions and a list of tools and materials. Look for decorations like wreaths, ornaments, centerpieces, trees and outdoor lighting. The “Christmas parties” section has a few more favors and small touches you can add to make the party special.
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