As the temperatures drop and the new year approaches, it’s time to get everyone from the neighborhood or office together for some good, old-fashioned merriment. Holiday parties are a yearly tradition. In fact, most people end up going to several of them each winter. Others might even find themselves roped into hosting these joyous occasions. While holiday parties are a great deal of fun, they can also be a challenge. Attendees and hosts alike need to be aware of how to best ensure the evening goes smoothly. So whether you’re concerned with keeping your parties safe or just want to make sure everything goes off without a hitch, here are a few key tips to keep in mind this winter.

Hire a Bartender

Fun Safe Home Office Parties

Everyone has that friend or colleague who insists they’re great at making mix drinks, and they very well may be, but bringing in a professional is nearly always the better choice. There’s a reason why companies that rent out bartending supplies also offer their own bartending services. Because by the time you’ve already rented the appropriate glassware and purchased the drink supplies, you may as well get your money’s worth out of them and have them professionally served.

Having a dedicated professional run the bar at your event adds an expensive feel even if you didn’t have to break the bank to hire them. Especially for corporate or office parties, renting a bartender will make the evening feel all that much more professional, and it will minimize the number of services issues you might otherwise run into with a non-professional server. And besides, everyone at your party wants to spend their time mingling and having fun; no one wants to go to a party to do more work.

Hire Additional Help

It’s not just bartenders that can make your party run smoothly. Caterers and servers are a great addition, as well. Hiring professionals allows you to be a guest at your own party. It takes a great deal off your mind and lowers your liability.

A professional serving team will also keep everything clean and organized for you so you can spend more time with your guests. Parties are supposed to be fun and sexy. When things get messy, they become the exact opposite of that. So let someone else take care of all that extra chaos for you.

Be Wise About Drinking

Cocktail Drink for New Year Parties

Hosting a holiday soiree is a far cry from crashing a college frat party. While everyone should be having a good time, you might not want to go overboard in the alcohol department. What overindulgence looks like will depend upon your own judgment. For those hosting a company party, it may be prudent to use a drink ticket system that will limit how much any individual can consume. For the less formal parties, it may be enough to trust guests to use their own judgement.

Drinking is a great way to relax and enjoy the holiday season, but drinking too much can lead to arguments or even fights. At the very least, someone who’s had too much may end up giving a bad impression to those around them, and at an office party especially, this is awkward at best and problematic at worst.

Practice and Promote Responsible Travel

Obviously, you are not likely going to act as a high school dance chaperone and police guests or fellow partygoers about how much they are drinking, how long they stay, and when they leave. That said, you should be sure to monitor yourself and be honest about how well-equipped you are to drive after a couple drinks. If you suspect that you will really let loose, consider carpooling with a friend who does not intend to indulge as much. Also, if you suspect a friend or coworker has had a bit too much to drink, consider offering them a ride a home.

Ditch the cell phones

It is estimated that we collectively check our phones about 8 billion times a day. And that’s fine. But parties are meant for socializing with those around us. If you’re attending a party, consider leaving your phone in the car, or if you need to keep it on you, just try not to use it. As a host, consider ways to encourage your guests to mingle in the real world instead of the digital. Obviously you shouldn’t stomp around like the middle school principal, scolding people who look like they’re texting, but try to come up with events and activities that will encourage interaction and discussion.

Be prepared (to improvise)

A little bit of planning goes a long way. Don’t wait until the last minute to get everything ready if you’re hosting a party. Set yourself an itinerary or schedule and try to stick to it. At the same time, you need to also be ready to throw that schedule aside and just wing it if the need arises. Maybe you’ve planned the perfect evening, full of activities. The first activity is only supposed to last twenty minutes, but it’s been nearly an hour and your guests are still having a great time. Don’t try to force everyone to move according to the itinerary. Toss it out and let the party go in the direction it has chosen. Plan as much as you can stand, but don’t get too attached to that planning.

Don’t forget the music

Background music can make or break a party. There should always be something playing just loud enough to be enjoyable but not so loud as to drown out conversation. Pick music that is appropriate for your venue. Try not to pick any music that might make someone uncomfortable. And remember your hires, as well. If you’re going to get a caterer or find a bartender for your party, make sure the music isn’t so obtrusive that it will make their job difficult.

Swap Out the Wasteful Plastic Cups

Instead of overspending on extra plastic cups, get nicer plastic glasses that people can easily put their names on. This reduces how many cups people will use. Good for the environment, and good for your wallet.

Be Strategic with the Coolers

Ice can get pricey. Consider filling your coolers with mostly cold water and enough ice to keep the temperature down–but not so much that you are left with a surplus of ice that just melts away.

Stock Up on Bottled Water

Be sure you’ve got plenty of water available to your guests. Set some extra water bottles aside for the end of the night and give them to guests as they are leaving.

Looking to bring your holiday bash to the next level? Find a bartender for your next party at Rent-a-Bartender.

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