Christmas week is finally here!  It’s time to get that last bit of holiday shopping completed and fill up on some of your favorite goodies. You might be one of the few looking to throw a last minute holiday party, and with only two weeks left in the year your time is quickly running out.

You may be running short on time, but there’s no reason you can’t throw a successful shin-dig before the year ends.  Whether you’re looking to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah New Year’s Eve, throwing a Friendsmas party is your best bet.

Whether you’re looking to host a big neighborhood party with your folks, or a modern day gathering with friends, bites and boozy adult beverages, you’ll want to throw an impressive party everyone will remember for years. Before you get your party boots on, there’s several rules you should consider to help you pull it off!


Step 1: Make Plan

Just like any other party, it’s crucial to plan out your Friendsmas to ensure a successful event.  How many people are you inviting, where will it be, what will you eat, what time will it begin and end? These are all very important details and it can be a bit overwhelming if you’re not prepared, so don’t do this alone. Enlist a friend to help you with execution of your party, it’ll take some of the burden off of your shoulders.

*Tip: Use a simple spread sheet in Google Docs to share your plans with your planning partner.  It’ll be easier to see the information in a shared platform without constantly editing, and emailing a list back and forth.

Step 2: Select a Venue 

The perfect venue is one of the most important elements of your party.  You should select a spot that’s both roomy and plush enough to impress every guest you plan to invite.  We were seeking a luxurious space with a great view, so we selected a spacious one-bedroom suite at the Westin Austin Downtown. The suite features a beautiful living room with an expansive view of downtown Austin and comfortable seating for all of our guests, making it the perfect impression for a luxurious holiday party.

*Tip: Save a few bucks by inviting your friends attending the party to donate $20 each towards the cost of the room. Enlisting their assistance toward the costs will alleviate some of your expenses which could be used towards food and drinks!

Step 3: Make a Guests List

This might be a last minute party for you so you should put together a list of of close personal friends that you know will come. You can always send out a mass group texts, but by now everyone knows that social media and Evites are your best bets to get the word out. We invited our best friends, featuring some of the best local food bloggers and media personalities in Austin.

 Grand Spread

Step 4: Design a Food Menu

This is possibly the most important step in throwing a Friendsmas.  A pot luck may save you a lot in party expenses, but as the host a majority of the food should come from you, homemade or not! If you’re celebrating in an upscale hotel room, consider skipping the pot-luck routine and order your food through the Favor and Harvest Apps. We ordered a beautiful spread from a few of our favorite spots in town including Baked by Amy’s, Central Market and Stella San Jac.


Texas Christmas Cookies – Baked by Amy’s


Central Market Catering



Stella San Jac

Step 5: Don’t forget about the Drink menu

What would a party be without alcoholic beverages?  This is probably the BEST part of the entire party, so enlist one of your pals as the mixologist for the party. Encourage them to come up with 3 easy cocktail recipes they’d be willing to make and serve everyone in attendance. Make sure you also bring juices, mixers and soft drinks to the party as well.  Our pal @ATXPartyGirl came up with a few festive cocktail recipes everyone was able to enjoy as well as a delicious Adult Hot Chocolate prepared by Westin Hotel’s bar staff.

Coffee-Vanilla Infused Hot Chocolate

Step 6: Exchange Gifts

What’s a Friendsmas party without a few gifts changing hands? Ditch the Secret Santa routine and go for the White Elephant game.  Be sure to determine a fair spending limit, no one wants leave feeling they were jipped or go home broke.  Have everyone pick numbers out of a hat to determine the gift selection order and take turns selecting presents.  Stealing up to two times is fair game.

Go for a BeSpokepost box party as an easy and impressive way to trade presents. Your guests will actually enjoy unboxing their gifts and will walk away happy with their gift, as each box is filled items beyond retail value.  If you really want to have a little fun and you’re trying to save money, invite all of your guests to bring a re-gifting present.  It’s seriously one of the only times you can get away with it, as long as it’s actually fun!


Step 7: Have Fun

Your guests will depend on you to set the mood and every Friendsmas party should be fun.  Select some fun Christmas music that will get everyone in to the holiday spirit. Dig out Mariah Carey’s and Michael Buble’s Christmas albums or compile a playlist of your favorite, Christmas music.  It’s also a good idea to consider playing a few games as well. You can never go wrong with board games and playing cards.

 The westin 2

Special Thanks to our host The Westin Austin Downtown and our amazing media partners…

Jane Ko @atasteofkoko

Shannon Monstrola @ATXpartygirl

Rachel Holtin @austinfoodstagram

Natalie Paramore @natalieparamore

Matt McGinnis @mattmcginnis

Amy Drohen @sushigirl_atx

Lindsay Vandygriff @eatingatx

Dani Austin @daniaustin

Linda Nguyen @curiousnotions

Sophia Beausoleil @sophia_beau (KXAN News)

Tania Ortega (FOX 7 Austin News)


About The Author

Hayden Walker
Executive Editor | Co-Publisher

Hayden Walker is the Editor in Chief and Director of Operations for Austin Food Magazine

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