5 Tips to Be a Great Host at Your Holiday Party

Holiday party season has arrived and our friends Kasey and Matt from Turntable Kitchen share five tips for hosting the perfect holiday soirée!

5 Tips to Be a Great Host at Your Holiday Party

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s likely that many of you are considering throwing a party. Despite the fact that I have lived in a modest-sized apartment for the last six years, I’ve hosted a range of events- New Year’s parties, birthday parties, tea parties, brunch parties, World Cup parties and Mad Men parties. Some have been small (15 people) and some have been outrageously large (50+). In my years of hosting, I’ve learned a few things about how to have fun, not worry about the carpet stains, and make your guests feel right at home.

1. Spread the love. Even if you’d prefer to be huddled in a corner with your best friend for the entire evening, make sure that all of your guests feel like they’re wanted at the party (including the awkward cousin that’s visiting from out of town!). I’ve never been good at the whole ‘networking’ thing (talk to someone for five minutes, then cut out to the next), but I love to introduce people to each other over the course of a party. It gets me moving around the room, and gives me the chance to help others mingle. “Oh man, I know someone who loves yoga as much as you…Let me introduce you!” Plus, it’s the perfect time of year to strike up a conversation with someone new (hello, fresh beginnings!)

2. Don’t drink too much, but just enough to make you a little bit more fun than usual. Let’s face it: we’ve all been there. We’re so nervous about everything going well. Before you know it, you’re having way more fun at the party than anyone else and regret it the next day. Greet your guests with a drink (preferably, festive) in hand, but don’t drink it quickly.

3. Don’t go overboard, literally and figuratively. I have a tendency to want to make everything from scratch, but when you’re trying to host a party (unless you want to spend a week prepping for it) figure out what ‘wow’ dishes you want to spend a little extra time on and then focus on easy-to-assemble, or purchased sides. This is especially true for holiday parties when you know you’ve got so many other things going on. A plate with cheese, crackers, nuts and dried fruit is always a winner. As is charcuterie (sliced meats). One of my favorite all-time party foods: skewers of tomato, basil and mozzarella. Invest in a few a few fun platters in different textures (I love wood and slate) to add instant pizazz.

4. Choose the playlist ahead of time. When my husband Matt and I have a party, he usually creates an iPod playlist with several hours worth of music. We might start the party by playing a few records for arriving guests before switching to the playlist. Jazz and Motown are great choices, especially for a family gathering. A great party has the right atmosphere and a huge part of that is music. Figure out what kind of mood you want to set and choose your music accordingly.

Matt recommends: For an upbeat, celebratory gathering, try the Turntable Kitchen December Mix. If you want to encourage conversation, try the Turntable Kitchen September Mix.

5. Look effortless. Don’t wear high heels that you can’t walk in, or a tie that will suffocate you. Make sure your home is stocked with cups, plastic silverware, napkins, toilet paper, fresh towels (skip the paper towels, they look tacky in your bathroom), hand soap, and carpet cleaner. When disaster strikes, grab that cleaner and say, “Don’t even worry about it!”

It’s party time!

Turntable Kitchen is site connecting food and music, born in a foggy Inner Sunset, San Francisco apartment and run by an inspired couple: Kasey (also known as Ksenya) and Matthew. We feature recipes with a focus on local, fresh ingredients, hand-selected ‘Musical Pairings,’ album reviews and musings on our city livin’ and country hoppin’ adventures. Most importantly, we aim to introduce food lovers to music and vice versa. We recently announced the launch of the Turntable Kitchen Pairings Box, a food and music experience delivered to your mailbox on a monthly basis.

Turntable Kitchen is a place to come home to, travel with and turn up the volume on.


  1. says

    Another quick and easy party is a potluck theme…. It’s a money saver and you dont have to give up having folks over because you can afford to feed a big crowd.

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