'Tis the season for holiday parties. If you're usually the hostess with the mostess, you know that year after year, the same old drinks, foods, decorations, and tunes can get staler than a piece of fruitcake left out overnight. This year use these tips from Clinton Kelly, co-host of What Not to Wear on TLC and The Chew on ABC Daytime to revamp your holiday party.
1. Bring good energy. The host always sets the tone for a party, Kelly says. So if you’re stressed that the food isn't good enough or people aren't going to have a good time, then it's going to make for a stressful party.
"Guests pick up on your tone and vibe, so try to relax," he says. "Go out for a run, meditate, have a glass of wine—do what you need to do to get in a good mood."
2. Think through your playlist. It's no secret that music can make or break a party, but knowing what to play at a holiday get-together can get a little tricky. Do you go with Christmas carols all night? Or not at all? Kelly recommends playing a 50-50 mix of holiday favorites and usual party tunes so that your living room doesn't start to feel like a shopping mall after a couple of hours of "Deck the Halls."
Also be sure your music is going to naturally flow with the evening. "Start out with mellow songs, and then as the night goes on, you can pump up the jam," Kelly says. "In the beginning, people will be chatting and mingling, but by the end of the night, they might want to dance a little bit."
3. Treat your decor like your outfit. Kelly maintains that color, texture, pattern, and shine make up the key components for your outfit—and your decor is no different. For color, add a beautiful runner to the table. For pattern, choose china with a pretty design. For texture, add a bowl of pomegranates or clementines. For shine, add lots and lots of candles.
"Candles are the most important part of any party—everyone looks better in candlelight!" he says. "Just be sure to keep them from the booze...I learned that the hard way once."
4. Put a new twist on classic holiday recipes. Kelly recently revamped how he makes green bean casserole from the old canned and processed way to this new, fresher recipe.
"There are ways to upgrade dishes with natural whole food," he says. "It might take more time, but it's really worth it. If I’m going to splurge, I'm going to do it really naturally."
5. Get natural. Gone are the days of buying holiday decorations, Kelly says. Instead, take advantage of the natural beauty in your own backyard.
"Go find some interesting branches, sand them lightly with fine-grain sandpaper, spray paint them silver, let them dry really well, and then lay them on a mantle or table," he says. "You can even hang ornaments from them or twirl those battery-powered lights around them for extra sparkle."
Lastly buy three times the amount of ice you think you'll need since nobody likes a cold drink and be sure to ask guests about their dietary restrictions. Now you're set for a fun night for everyone, and for more fun, enter to win Kelly's Taste Intervention contest on Sargento Cheese's Facebook page, where you can win a free $10,000 holiday makeover!
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.