'Tis the Season: What Makes a Good Holiday Party?

There are those holiday parties that you anticipate with glee, for which you buy a special sparkly dress to wear and pick up a fine bottle of wine to bring. And then there are those holiday parties that you would give anything to ditch if you could. Assuming we all want to be throwing the former kind of party rather than the latter, what do you think makes a truly great holiday party?Really, a holiday party is just a regular dinner party that's dressed up for the season! Many of the same key ideas apply:

Invite a variety of guests and make sure everyone knows at least one other person.
Put on some good music. If you want to pipe Christmas music to your guests, make it tasteful. (Personally, I save the Glee Christmas Album for blasting in the car.)
Have drinks and appetizers ready when guests arrive. Nothing like little trays of nibbles and a cocktail to get guests relaxed and conversing.
Consider your space. Make it cozy and comfortable with areas to stand, places to sit, and candles for some intimacy.
Don't force party games. Some of us love a good White Elephant gift exchange. Others, not so much. I say, don't force it.

What tips do you have for throwing a winning holiday party?

Related: How to Throw a Dinner Party: 25 Tricks, Tips, and Resources

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