It’s a bit nippy out, holiday cheer is the air, and the time has come to plan your most epic party of all time. It’s time to plan your very own Friendsmas party!

There’s just a few days before Christmas and amd barely a week before new year’s eve so you may be running short on time, but there’s no reason you can’t throw a successful shin-dig before the end of the holiday season.  Whether you’re looking to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s Eve or any other seasonal party, the Friendsmas party has become one of the best ways to celebrate the season with friends and family.

We’ve thrown a few unforgettable parties (humble brag) in our time, and we’re here once again to provide you with the ultimate dos and don’ts to properly prepare for an unforgettable night with your guests.

Whether you’re veteran party host with the most, or a novice who has no clue on where to begin, we’re here with the answers to guide you to holiday party glory. See our step-by-step guide on throwing your most epic friendsmas party ever.

Select an amazing Venue

JW Marriott Austin – Presidential Suite

The location of your party sets the pace for the entire affair and is one of the most important aspects of planning your Friendsmas. The venue should have sufficient space for your guests, but it should also be classy to impress everyone enough for them to brag about you afterwards.  If you’re looking for world class luxury in Austin’s downtown atmosphere, the JW Marriott is easily the best venue in town.

We have a lot of friends and our guest list was pretty large, so we reserved the largest presidential suite in the hotel.  The presidential suite offers breathtaking views of downtown Austin from the room’s contemporary ambiance and large windows. This versatile space blended with JW’s unmatched amenities made a fitting setting for our big party.  Visit to make reservations.

See Also: Austin’s Best Staycation | JW Marriott Austin


Create a Guest List

Get Help from you Friends

If you have a lot of friends you’ll be tempted to invite all of them to your party. While you’ll want to invite them all, it’s important to keep the vibes positive and joyful with a guest list that includes a group that will contribute to the festivities.  We invited some of our favorite media influencers and bloggers in Austin to keep the party alive nearly all night.

*Pro Tip: If you’re trying to stay within a budget, get your friends to pitch in for the room. If you have a group of 15 or more, $20 from each will go a long way in getting you an amazing room at the JW Marriott or pretty much any hotel in town.


Bring Lots of Food

If you want your friendsmas party to be exceptional, this is not the time to skimp out on quality fare, and unless you have an exceptionally large budget to feed everyone, a collaborative pot luck is your best bet.  Enlist your friends to bring at least one dish or beverage to the party. Our guest list was HUGE so everyone brought food from some of their favorite eateries in the city.


Friendsmas 2016

JW Marriott Austin

JW Marriott Austin’s family of restaurants includes three eateries all headed by Executive Chef Chad Blunston, with Each restaurant offering their own unique spin on their menu. Osteria Pronto offers delicious fine Italian fare curated by Exexutive Chef Gilberto Ramirez Jr., while Corner Bar offers more of a casual approach featuring a mix of unique dishes curated by chef Jennifer Etzkin.  Both restaurants provide outstanding menu items for a tasty addition to any party.

Burger lovers will enjoy Burger Bar, the fast casual, curbside hamburger joint also attached to the hotel. You’ll find delicious burgers, fries and milkshakes at an affordable price.


Friensdmas La Barbecue

La Barbecue | Smoked Brisket

If you’re a crazed barbecue fanatic like most people in the city, you probably already know about La Barbecue’s legendary brisket.  Brisket is a terrific option for a hungry crowd of friends and starts at $20/lb. or you can order a full brisket for $100 each and orders can be made by calling (512) 605 – 9696, or e-mail Ali at Don’t expect any left overs on this one, it was one of the first things to disappear.


Friendsmas austin-daily-press

Austin Daily Press | Hushpuppies and Churriotos

A large tray of Jalapeno Hushpuppies and Churritos with cinnamon sugar, vanilla glaze or blueberry jam makes a wonderful bite size side item or dessert for your hungry group. Visit to place your order.


Freda's Crawfish Mac & Cheese

Freda’s Grille | Crawfish Mac & Cheese

Mac and cheese makes a perfect side item for any party no matter the occasion. Crawfish mac and cheese on the other hand is a game changer and Freda’s Grille in North Austin has some of the mac in town.


Street Chinese

Street Restaurant

By now you should have a massive table full of various styles of food, but I bet no one ever thought of bringing Asian-American street food in to the buffet table.  The Roast Beef Onion Pancake Wraps were such a big hit and so delicious you’ll probably buy extras just to bring home for yourself the day after the party.

The Christmas holidays are notoriously famous for all of the adorable baked goods and sweets that cause us to go on a diet at the end of the season. It’s nearly impossible to have a respectable holiday party without a selection of adorable desserts and treats for your guests to brag about for the duration of the season.

Baked by Amy’s 

Pick up a tin of Baked’s ginger bread men cookies and peppermint bark bites to add to the party. Erin Fellows and her crew creates some of the Instagram worthy pastries and desserts during the holiday season which is sure to be a hit with your group. Pick up an large order of their special holiday cookies and chocolate mints in a tin as a take home present for your guests.


Paper Route Bakery

Paper Route Bakery | Cookies and homemade Poptarts

Paper Route Bakery is a local artisanal small-batch bakery, that makes classic American pastries, then delivers them to your doorstep! Each of our pastry is delivered warm and tastes like a holiday love letter to your taste buds. Set up an order of their signature chocolate chunk cookies and house made pop tarts, delivered to your suite just in time for your party.



Sugar Mama’s Bakery 

All holiday parties should be filled with cupcakes and dreams and Sugar Mama’s makes some of the best cupcakes in Austin, making it the perfect party treat. Order a couple of dozen from several of their most delicious selections for any special occasion or your holiday party.

The Wine and Cocktail List

A Friendsmas doesn’t exist without a proper alcoholic beverage or five.  Don’t get me wrong, food is very important, but beverages are the life blood of the party and sometimes the only thing to keep your guests at the party. If you can, recruit one of your friends to act as the mixologist for the party. Select at least 3-4 easy cocktail recipes  or pick up a premade keg cocktail to keep on draft.

See also, The Ultimate drinking guide to Friendsmas. 


Friendsmas 2016

Play The White Elephant Game

I know I said food and alcohol are the most important things of any holiday party, but none of those matter unless your guests have fun. One of the highlights of the holiday season is exchanging presents, so keep the tradition alive at your party with a white elephant gifts exchange game. Come up with some other games

Everyone recives gifts they can easily re-gift to someone else, so have your guests bring presents they’re willing to give up in the white elephant game. Sometimes you’ll find the most interesting items being offered and it gets really interesting with a lot of people in attendance.


Special thanks to our sponsors

JW Marriott Austin

Osteria Pronto

Corner Restaurant

Burger Bar

La Barbecue

Capra Lamb

Blackfinn Ameripub Austin

Austin Daily Press

VERTS Mediterranean Grill

Kerbey Lane Cafe: Austin Cafe

Angel Johnston of Crave Catering


Favor delivery services

Street Restaurant


Elaine’s Pork & Pie

Paper Route Bakery – Austin Bakery Delivery

Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Treaty Oak
Martine Honey Suckle Liquor
Draumbie Whiskey
Hendricks Gin
Tullamore Irish Whiskey
Uncle Billy’s Brew
Austin Beerworks
Austin Eastciders
Q Drinks (mixers)
Wedding Oak winery
Rodney Strong Estates wine
Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee