03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Five Steps to a Holiday Dinner that Will Put You on the Map


Throwing a holiday party can transform your experience of the season. It's hard to be a Scrooge while creating an evening to remember - and then enjoying it with happy, heart-warmed guests.

Nervous about your hosting skills? Relief is here: Check out our new FREE Holiday Party Guide. Advice, tactical cues, cost-cutters, as well as instant motivation to create events that truly capture the incredible relationship-building opportunity of the season. With a little planning, you can invite casual acquaintances into your home and have them leave poised to become trusting friends and allies in 2010.

To get warmed up, here's five of the Nine Steps to a Holiday Dinner that Will Put You on the Map - you'll find the rest in the free guide.

1. Create a theme.
There's no reason that even a small holiday dinner party shouldn't have a theme. One simple idea can help you pull the food and atmosphere together. You can build a party around anything, really. It could be your mother's meatloaf recipe, black tie (used rarely, as we want people to be totally comfortable), vegan food, specific music--whatever you like. People will get jazzed when they know you're being creative.

Yes, "holiday party" can be a theme of its own, and often is. But why not get more specific so that your event and invite are the most unique and intriguing of the season?

2. Make the list manageable.
For a dinner party, shoot for 6-10 guests - which means inviting more like 8-12 because generally a good third have scheduling conflicts...

To see the rest of this post, visit Keith's blog and for all nine steps, download the FREE GUIDE.

Tell me about your experience with holiday parties. I'm especially interested in hearing about trouble spots: help someone else avoid the same problem!