Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Step-by-step guide to hosting for holidays

How to throw best holiday party anyone has ever seen
Marissa Haegele

All of your loved ones are gathered in a room. The conversation floats above the classy holiday playlist coming from the kitchen. You’re grazing on the charcuterie board of a lifetime as a mouth-watering dinner awaits you in the dining room.

This may sound like a fairytale — or a daunting task. But really, it’s exactly what your holiday party is going to look like this year. Below are all the things you need for a successful, low-stress holiday bash.

First, you’re going to need a playlist or two. No party is complete without music, and no hosting duties can possibly be completed without the perfect soundtrack.


To start your journey, put on your favorite holiday album or playlist full of your guilty pleasures. “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber, anyone? How about Ariana Grande’s “Santa Baby”? Whatever makes you feel productive should be one notch past an acceptable volume on your headphones for the next few steps.

Now that you’re up and moving, it’s time to clean. It’s the most dreadful part of the holiday hosting process, and that’s why it’s getting done first. Everyone wants to show off a clean space, so there’s no turning back after this step — you’ll be too excited anyway.

When you’re done cleaning, it’s time to get in the kitchen. You’re doing a potluck holiday this year, complete with a shared spreadsheet. One column should be labeled “Food Type,” another “Dish” and the other “Name.”

You’ll fill in the food type column with cells like “dessert,” “entree,” “appetizer,” “salad,” etc. until you have enough dish types for everyone. If you don’t trust your friends, maybe just order a pizza.

As the host, you’ll be making the main dish. It’s lasagna. Who can go wrong with noodles and cheese? There’s a lasagna adaptation for any dietary restriction, and everyone loves it. I have no idea why this dish is served as little as it is, but we’re bringing it back this year.

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With a pan of lasagna in the oven, it’s time to whip up a dessert. Now, I know what you’re thinking — I thought a potluck meant I only had to make one thing? Yeah, no, but this is the easiest and most delicious dessert you’ll ever make.

All you have to do is buy a box of Betty Crocker’s fudge brownies and cook them exactly according to package instructions. Top them with a dusting of powdered sugar after they cool and you will never hear the end of the compliments. Trust me, people have been asking me for my brownie recipe since fifth grade.

Okay, the lasagna is out, and the brownies are in the oven. Remember that charcuterie board from a dream? It’s time to make it a reality.

Since it’s the holidays, you’re going to make your charcuterie into the shape of a tree or something else festive. 

I suggest some fancy breadsticks, water, crackers and a baguette cut into slices for your bases. For cheese, get some brie, goat cheese and aged cheddar. Pair these with grapes, fig jam and bread and butter pickles. And, of course, don’t forget some nice salami and prosciutto. You can pick your favorites of these foods to best suit your taste buds.

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Your charcuterie board is assembled and your guests’ arrivals are on the horizon. Hop in the shower and get ready. Wear your favorite holiday attire and get ready to reap the benefits of all your hard work!

Okay, so that playlist you’ve been listening to for the past six hours on repeat can turn off when you’re ready for guests to arrive. Now it’s time to turn on the most nostalgic holiday tunes of all time. Subconsciously tying your party to holidays of childhoods past is what will make it memorable.

This music should include Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, along with some jazz. It should include songs everyone grew up listening to, depending on the audience of your party.

As your guests walk up to your door, turn off all overhead lights. Your entire space should be warmly lit exclusively by lamps and Christmas lights. Take your charcuterie board out of the refrigerator and put it on a coffee table.

Pour a glass of your favorite wine or soda and you’re set for the party of a lifetime. Finally, it’s time to enjoy the amazing party you worked so hard on. Enjoy talking to your guests until the charcuterie board is picked through, then put your lasagna back into the oven to warm it up.

Serve up your dinner and enjoy! Serve the brownies and other desserts after dinner and talk until you’re too tired to clean anything in your house. Put on your favorite holiday movie — I suggest “Just Friends” or “Klaus” depending on what you’re in the mood for.

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After your last guest departs, put on your favorite pajamas and fall asleep. Leave cleanup — aside from putting leftovers in the refrigerator — for the morning.

There you have it — the best holiday party ever. Enjoy, and happy holidays!

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