Tis the season to be jolly and maybe a bit tipsy! The holidays are my favorite time of the year. For the third year in a row, Mr. Fancy and I plan to share our holiday cheer by hosting a fun and festive cocktail party that is guaranteed to get our friends and family in the spirit. Everyone should host a party once in a while. Who doesn’t enjoy going to someone else’s home and being treated to a good time? We’re fortunate to have many friends who are great hosts too so we are treated several times a year to a fabulous time with fancy friends. 


Photo courtesy of the oh-so-fancy Gina at Zeidler Photography!

The key ingredients for our very merry cocktail party:


The best guests: The #1 ingredient to throwing a good party is inviting the right people. If someone is no fun or is always complaining or has a bad attitude DON’T invite them. You can control the quality of food, the decor and the music at the party but you can’t control whether or not people have fun. They decide for themselves if they will enjoy it or not. Even a not so organized party can be fun if you’re all in the spirit.

Mr. Fancy reminded me of this almost every day during wedding planning because I was so concerned about everyone else. He reminded me that if they come and don’t have fun, that’s not really our fault. So put on your smiley face, relax and make sure YOU have a jolly good time at your party because if you invited the right people, the party will be oh so fancy!

Lighting/ambience: We light lots of candles— candles on the mantel, candles on the table, bar, kitchen, bookshelves-everywhere! We also have a fire going strong in our fireplace and hang Christmas lights throughout the house. This year we have a giant Christmas tree that will welcome our guests.

Music: Pandora supplies us with great holiday music. We’ve been working on our station for the party for weeks now so it will be perfect on the 12th!

Party favors: The first 40 guests who enter our home will get to pick a small gift from under the tree. I don’t want to give away any more details on this until after the party since several readers will be attending. This is a fun way to start the party and make guests feel welcome!

Décor: Holiday plates, napkins, centerpieces, table runners and table cloths are the highlights. Accents include holiday lights, place cards letting our guest know what each area is, Christmas tree, greenery on the fireplace and a wreath on our door.

Room layout: We always set up several stations at our parties to spread everyone out and to make each room feels like it has a feature. Here are the stations that will all be at least five feet from each other throughout our home:

  • Full bar with all the hard liquor you can imagine, mixers galore, olives, limes, cherries, simple syrup, candy canes and more.
  • Bubbly bar with champagne, cava, prosecco, sparkling sodas and juices, and then fresh fruit purees to add to the bubbly to create a red or green bellini. Flavors this year are cranberry, raspberry, strawberry and kiwi. We also own 50 champagne flutes (we bought them at Ikea for very little $$$) so we use the real thing for all of our guests. I use a glass table for the bubbly bar and line it with a table runner. I also tape white holiday lights under the glass table so it shines through for a beautiful set-up. p.s. Bubbly is available for less than the price of most wine at Trader Joe’s or your local liquor store. There is a myth out there that bubbly is uber expensive. It’s not!
  • Beer station—self-explanatory-it’s beer in a cute beverage tub!
  • Wine station—this one just includes a few kinds of red and a few kinds of white, wine glasses and stem skirts for guests to remember their glass. Simple and always popular!
  • Dessert bar—yummy desserts galore including chocolate caramel cheesecake bites from the fabulous DaNeera (feature coming soon) with candles and holiday ornaments decorating the scene.
  • Food—a cocktail party any time of the year requires delicious food. We will have five or six appetizers including Sri Lankan eggrolls, mini pizzas (that you can literally eat in three bites) and mini caprese kebobs with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil on a kebob stick with red wine vinaigrette. More to come on the food.

I can’t wait for our party this year! I’m already in the holiday spirit and this party is full of little festive moments that make me feel fancy! Send your party ideas to or leave a comment. Remember—Cans for Comments is going on now through Tuesday. Live the fancy life!