Christmas season is here and it’s time to enjoy the holiday season with your friends and family.  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, 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 that will help your little shindig become successful.


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.

Friendsmas 2016


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 host.  Venue rentals can be quite expensive and only offers a few hours for at a time to host events. Depending on the size of your party and to maximize your budget, check with a few local hotels to inquire about reserving a presidential suite or one of their ballrooms. You can also inquire with AirBnb or VRBO to see if there’s any special

*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!

Jane and Linda - friendsmas


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 our favorite local influencers.

Design the perfect custom invitation card with Canva’s free invitation maker –


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.


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.


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 normally fair game, but make sure everyone brings something someone else will actually want to steal.

*Tip: to save money, ask everyone to bring a present they would be regifting from a previous party.  Sometimes, regifted presents make some of the most interesting and funny gifts.  


Your guests will depend on you to set the mood and every Friendsmas party should be fun.  Pick out a grown-up board game and be sure to select some fun Christmas music that will get everyone in to the holiday spirit.  Prepare your favorite Spotify list and pump up the volume when you’re ready to dance, just make sure you get it on video so you can make fun of each other later.

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
Editor In Chief

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

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