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by Kelly Bejelly

When you think of a party, you may think of being surrounded by family and friends, soaking up the sunshine or gathering by the pool. It’s no secret that summer weather is perfect for parties — plenty of yummy food and drinks, being able to be outside, and cute party outfits make for the optimal party. But just because it’s winter that doesn’t mean you need to stop partying. So whether you’re celebrating a birthday or just want to host a get together for all of your pals, here are a few great party-planning tips for winter.

Focus on the Food

Any party should be accompanied by delicious food. And fortunately, the winter season calls for tons of yummy comfort foods. You should make a few different soups and chilis for your guests to enjoy — you could even make that the theme of the party and have each guest bring their signature soup. Make sure to have plenty of sides, like cornbread or crackers, to go with the main dishes. Your friends will surely forget about the cold weather outside when they’re gathered around and eating hot dishes. Another great food idea for a winter party is fondue. While fondue parties are better for smaller groups, you can make it work for big parties too. Fondue is great because not only is the food good, but everyone gets to huddle together and have fun making their own food. And of course, you can’t forget the sweet treats. Consider making cookies, brownies, or cupcakes that go with your party theme. Or simply decorate them for winter or whatever holiday you’re celebrating. With plenty of good food, your guests will easily forget about their winter blues. Don’t forget about buying plates, cups, and napkins as well. For each of your guests, you should have about three disposable plates. But if you’re going to soup and chili route, make sure to have some durable bowls.

Choose a Fun Theme

No party is complete without a theme. You can do something simple, like choosing three main colors to carry out throughout party accessories, or you can do something a little more extravagant. If you’re celebrating a holiday or event, like Valentine’s Day, then your party theme is going to be pretty straightforward. But if you’re hosting a “just because” party, then you’ll have to choose a theme. While you can certainly stick with a winter theme and decorate with snowflakes, blues, and silvers, you could do the opposite and choose a warm theme. You may not be one of the 36% of people who bought a vacation home in a beach area, but you can certainly fake it. So why not have a luau or a tropical themed party? This can be a lot of fun and can really help everyone keep their minds off of the winter weather. Make sure to go all out with decorations if you’re doing something warm to really give the illusion that you’re somewhere on a beach. No matter what you choose, make sure to carry the theme throughout every aspect of the party. And if you’re renting a public space for your party, which can be great for winter events, make sure you’re following the rules. With there being more than 300 bills waiting for Senate action, there are probably regulations you have to follow. Having a party in a lodge or rec center can make for easy preparation, just be smart about it.

Don’t Forget the Favors

A party isn’t really a complete party without having some awesome favors for your guests to take home. While favors may depend on the theme and the age of the guests, there are some really great favors you can consider. If you went with a winter theme, consider giving your guests some hot cocoa mix to take home with them or some winter treats, like candy canes. If you’re having a smaller party, you could consider putting together a winter care package, complete with a new scarf, some gloves, and a nice thermos. If you went the warmer route with your party, choose a favor that compliments your theme. Some cute sunglasses, a fancy cup for drinks, or even a nice lei could all help your party guests take home some warmth with them. You could even personalize your favors and make your guests feel really special. But no matter what you choose, make sure your friends have something fun to take home with them to remember your party by.

Hosting a winter party can be tricky, but it’s worth it in the end. So keep these tips in mind and you’re sure to throw your friends a winter party they’ll never forget.

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