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These hosting secret weapons will make your holiday party super memorable

Take your drinks, music, and entertainment to the next level

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By Architectural Digest US | December 7, 2021 | Travel Leisure

After spending last year’s holiday season in small pods or attending virtual parties, this year has a renewed festive spirit. People are ready to party and plan their get-togethers as early as possible. Though hosting duties can range from sending out invitations to decorating the house and prepping for a big meal, having a few secret weapons can take a party from enjoyable to super memorable—for both the host and the guests. There are so many ways to prepare for the festivities (and avoid excess stress) by investing in key pieces like nice wine, an espresso machine, or a bunch of beautiful candles.

Now that we can more safely be in the same place as our family and friends, sharing meals, making toasts, and celebrating this time of year, we’re here to make sure you have all the tools you need to make the most of your shindig. Choose one or all of the tips below to take your holiday party up a notch.

Bring out the best beverages

Beverages typically serve as bookends for a good party. From greeting your guest with a “what can I get you to drink?” to ending a meal with dessert and a cup of coffee, making sure you have a worthy drink selection is key to good hosting.

Master Sommelier and SommSelect founder Ian Cauble tastes hundreds of wines a week, so he knows those bottles of wine that are perfect for sharing, sparking conversation, and won’t disappoint on such an important occasion. He recommends SommSelect’s Blind 6 Gift Pack for a more intimate affair. “This is a special one-time box of our best-selling Blind 6 wine subscription, which walks you through a blind wine tasting at home.” Not only will the blind tasting add some interactive learning to your party, but it will also add an element of discovery about your guests’ tastes.

Not every drink needs to be of the alcoholic variety. Having high-quality coffee for serving up a warm, delicious espresso at the end of the night is another way you’ll make yourself a hosting superstar. No one will forget an evening capped with made-to-order cappuccinos.

Invest in the soundscape

Creating a playlist for your party is a great way to curate the vibe. Plus, you can share the songs with your guests after the party, so they remember every tune. You can even request that guests bring their own playlists to put on throughout the night, if you’re craving some musical variety, suggesting a theme or era of music as a jumping-off point.

Take the audio experience to the next level by investing in nice audio gear. From an elevated vinyl setup (ask your friends to bring their favorite albums) to sophisticated speakers, a special electronic device will ensure your guests remember the night. Of course, a few Bluetooth speakers will keep the music flowing in a pinch, so long as someone remembers to hit play.

Create a lasting scent

Adding another sensory element to the party by creating a scent memory is a fun way to impress your guests. Whether using candles or a diffuser, it’s important to choose the right aroma for your atmosphere without overpowering the food or your guests’ noses.

“Think of the initial mood you want to create for your family and friends,” says Michelle Feeney, founder of fragrance brand Floral Street. “I like to bring my garden to the front door, so I light a Lady Emma Candle in my hallway. It feels like [guests] have been given a huge bunch of flowers as they arrive.” You can even buy a handful of extra candles to send your guests off with as parting gifts, so they remember the party every time they light one. “Smell is the strongest trigger for memories and a beautiful way to enhance the moment.” Feeney adds.

Add in some games and gadgets

A great way to keep your guests entertained while you’re finishing the last bit of cooking or greeting people at the door is keeping some games out and about. Let your company make themselves at home with a puzzle or quick round of Go Fish. Not only can some simple entertainment help ease rusty social skills, but a beautiful deck of cards can serve as a decorative element.

In a similar vein, it’s always fun to impress your friends with an unexpected gadget. How about serving the crispiest appetizers that just came out of the air fryer? Or passing around a glass of bubbles from a bottle you didn’t even uncork? Or snapping up candid portraits on an old-school Polaroid camera? Showing off a hobby or skill of yours with a speciality tool will surely have people talking about your holiday party for ages.

This article was originally published on Architectural Digest US.

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