How to throw a great holiday party

The holiday season is all about spending time with your friends and family, nabbing presents and wowing people with your spectacular party giving skills. Not everyone is born knowing how to throw an awesome shindig, so here are a few tips and tricks to help.


Upside-Down Berry Mini Cakes

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pint of blackberries and raspberries

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon of vanilla (optional)

1 cup + 6 tablespoons of sugar

1 cup of flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

½ teaspoons of salt

1 large 6-cup muffin tin

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put ½ tablespoon of butter in the bottom of each muffin cup and melt in the oven.

Mix 1 tablespoon of sugar in each cup of melted butter, allow to heat in oven for five minutes.

Place a few berries in the bottom of each cup.

Separate the egg yolks and whites into separate bowls.

In another bowl, mix together the salt, baking soda and flour.

Beat the egg whites with a whisk or mixer until peaks form.

Mix the last cup of sugar into the egg whites slowly.

Melt the last tablespoon of butter then mix it into the egg yolks.

Mix the yolk mixture into the whites slowly, and then stir in the flour mix a bit at a time.

Pour the batter into the muffin tin over the berries and sugar.

Bake for about half an hour, let cool and enjoy the fruits of your labor.


2 cups of grated Swiss cheese

2 cups of grated Gruyere cheese

1 cup of grated Carlsberg cheese

1 clove of garlic, halved

Juice of ½ a lemon

1 ½ cups of white wine

1 tablespoon of white pepper

3 teaspoons of cornstarch

Toasted bread, cut apples or various steamed veggies for dipping

Mix the cheese and cornstarch in a bowl until it coats the cheese.

Rub the garlic on the inside of a large pan.

Heat the wine and lemon juice in the pan over medium heat.

Mix in the cheese a handful at a time.

Add pepper.

Stir the mix constantly until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Pour finished mix into heated crock or fondue pot.

Cut bread and any other dippers into bite sized pieces and enjoy.


What’s a Christmas party without fun cocktails? A horrible reminder that it’s freezing outside disguised in a festive sweater, that’s what. So to alleviate the need to turn to harder substances this holiday season, here are a few quick and simple cocktails that will have your guests saying “Ho-ho-holy crap that was good!”

Cran-Pom Christmastini

2 ounces of Pomegranate vodka (or Pomegranate juice for a “mocktail”)

1 ounce of Cranberry juice

A splash of lemon-lime soda

Mix all ingredients with ice in a shaker.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a cranberry or two in the bottom of the glass.

Naughty Not Nice Nog

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Pinch of chili powder

3/4 cup of coffee-flavored liqueur (can substitute Irish Crème or milk)

Hot cocoa mix

Water or milk

Mix together cocoa mix with water or milk and microwave for 1:30 minutes.

Stir in the remaining ingredients and serve warm.

To garnish, simply wet the rim of the mug beforehand and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Alpine peppermint martini

1 1/2 ounces of vodka

1 teaspoon of Peppermint Schnapps

A splash of lemon-lime soda

Mix all ingredients with ice in a shaker.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Option: Garnish with a small candy cane or rim the glass with crushed candy canes.


Holiday Garland

Enough garland to stretch the space you want to cover.

Red bows

3M hooks

Attach a 3M hook near the ceiling about every two feet.

Tie one end of the garland to the first hook.

Loop the garland over each following hook, leaving a bit hanging until you run out of hooks.

Place a red bow about every three hooks.

Decorative candle centerpiece

1 pillar candle

2 feet of 1-2 inch width ribbon

Decorative flowers, bangles, etc

Tie the ribbon in a bow around the base of the candle.

Stick the ends of the flowers/bangles between the candle and the ribbon.

Shift the pieces around until it looks pretty.


Music is a key component in setting the atmosphere for any holiday event. Keep the mood merry and light with these upbeat classics and contemporaries.

1. “Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi Trio

2. “8 Days Of Christmas” by Destiny’s Child

3. “Christmas/ Sarajevo 12/24 (Instrumental)” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

4. “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses

5. “Christmas Tree (feat. Space Cowboy)” by Lady Gaga

6. “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano

7. “Deck The Halls” by Mannheim Steamroller

8. “All I Want For Christmas” by Mariah Carey

9. “Step Into Christmas” by Elton John

10. “Run Rudolph Run” by Chuck Berry

11. “Santa Baby” by Madonna

12. “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” by Annie Lennox

13. “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays” by Perry Como

Contact Molly Cahill at [email protected].

Contact Bridget McLaughlin at [email protected].