5 Tips for Throwing a Last Minute Holiday Party + a Cute Hot Chocolate Bar - Pretty Real

5 Tips for Throwing a Last Minute Holiday Party + a Cute Hot Chocolate Bar

8:58 PM

Hot Chocolate Bar
At the last minute we decided to invite the neighbors over for Christmas Eve. Since it was last minute, we didn't have time to attempt to turn our home into a winter wonderland or go overboard with food and drink. I'm proud to say it was fairly simple but was still a great time! Here are some tips to throw your own last minute shindig (quick, call your neighbors and invite them over for NYE!)

1. Add some filler to your menu. 
We always prepare festive snacks for holidays (last year my mom made the cutest "Reindeer Chow" bar!) so all I did was add store bought meatballs, crackers and cheese, and confetti popcorn to our current menu. I was already planning on Joe's famous BBQ chicken pizza, spinach dip, a hot cocoa bar, cookies, and chocolate dipped pretzels.

bowl of chocolate chip cookies and glowy candles at a holiday party2. Keep food store-bought or semi-homemade as much as possible.
It's already last minute so don't go overboard. Although I definitely would have preferred homemade, all I did was add a jar of jelly and a jar of BBQ sauce to store-bought meatballs and threw them in the Crock-pot. Crackers, cheese, and pepperoni took 5 minutes to prepare and was gobbled up. Another easy semi-homemade recipe is my favorite "holiday popcorn." I microwave 2 bags of popcorn, pick out the un-popped kernels, melt half a block of candy quik, mix with popcorn, and add Christmas m&ms and red and green sprinkles. It's the perfect snack that lasts throughout a party but doesn't take an hour or two of laborious baking.

3. Make food do double duty. 
Making cookies for your neighbors or a swap? Double the batch and serve at your party! Chocolate dipped pretzel rods is another quick and yummy snack.

4. Add a beverage bar. 
This can be hot cocoa or a champagne bar with simple syrups. Don't go overboard with toppings- This one included hot cocoa, whipped cream, candy canes, peanut butter chips (the pictures show m&ms, but I swapped it at the last minute), and flavored coffee creamer. So easy. After being inspired by this beautiful party, I used wrapping paper as a simple backdrop.
Hot Chocolate Bar at a Holiday Party

Hot cocoa bar at a Christmas Party

5. Focus on one area to create a festive vignette. Lights and Candles make everything feel pretty.
If the thought of opening your home for the holidays makes you go all wide eyed emoji, just keep decor simple. Focus on your fireplace, your table, or your beverage bar. I created a simple and glow-y table "runner." Also, candles make everything pretty. Because I'm about keeping it real, I'll admit, I did shop for most of the items on the table. Luckily most items were from stores I already had to stop in for errands. My favorite was using a knit scarf as a runner. I'm so clever you guys.
Table runner with glowing candles, marble trees, and metallic bulbs

 That's it! Keep the comparison and Pinterest envy at bay and you'll be able to pull of a pretty, fun, last minute holiday gathering in no time (and with very little cash!). Upon arriving, my girlfriend's words were so sweet "It looks so whimsical and festive and bright." Have I mentioned that I love my neighbors?!

What tips do you have for us? Would love to hear more short cuts!

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  1. You are so right about keeping things on hand! I always have crackers and cheese, peanuts, and pretzels for our impromptu gatherings. This time of year they happen almost every other day.
    Love the hot coca bar!
    xo, Lee

    1. I love the thought of having a stash of munchies! Thanks for your comment :)