From close friends to coworkers, family to new faces, nothing says welcome to my home like hosting a party; and if there is ever a perfect time for a party, it’s the holidays.  

To ensure your soirée is the social event of the season, White Diamond Realty compiled five tips on hosting a memorable event, including ways to make guests feel welcome and an introduction to a fabulous caterer guaranteed to dazzle ‘em with flavor. 

Tip 1: Get the Word Out 

Mail your invitations early. Yesterday, if possible After all, there are plenty of competing events, and people need advanced notice to plan around the party of the year: Yours!  

Aside from mailing themed invitations, there are plenty of online invitation options that allow you to design a personalized card and send it to anyone in your digital address book. Whichever method you use, don’t forget to include the time and date of the party, as well as the exact address with parking directions if needed. If there are additional requests (e.g., formal attire), be sure to include that in your official invitation.  

Of course, no matter how you invite, White Diamond recommends requesting an RVSP to ensure you have enough food and beverages.  

Pro tip: Ask guests about dietary restrictions to plan a perfect party for everyone. 

Tip 2: Add an Interactive Element 

Yes, you already have a holiday theme but adding a second element, such as an ugly sweater competition or a white elephant gift exchange can boost attendance, encourage guests to interact with each other, and add some festive spirt of your fête. If you have a diverse guest list, consider asking them to bring a holiday food item inspired by their upbringing. You’ll not only enjoy new flavors, but you’ll often hear a story that tells you more about your guests and brings people closer together.  

Tip 3: Celebrate Winter    

Whichever holidays you celebrate this month, they all have one thing in common: They occur in the depths of winter. Work that chilly theme into your fab fête by including seasonal foods and beverages, such as mulled wine, hearty stews, and fondues. For a bedazzling presentation, use edible glitter as faux snow or as a colorful accent on your favorite dessert, such as jelly-filled donuts 

Of course, if you just wish it were warmer in West Virginia, bring some tropical flare by skipping the eggnog and serving spiced rum or a holiday horchata with cinnamon and vanilla.  Either way, White Diamond recommends providing non-alcoholic options and limiting the number of alcoholic drinks served to each guest to three (or fewer).  

Tip 4 Call a Caterer 

Everyone loves your fruitcake recipe. Really, we’ll take a slice home and eat it later. Promise. But the truth is that not everyone is eager to prepare an entire holiday menu for large gatherings.  

Even experienced home chefs can feel overwhelmed by the logistics of hosting, entertaining, and feeding a large number of guests. Using a quality catering service ensures delicious food, while saving you time and alleviating stress.  Why not let a celebrated chef take care of the food (and the majority of the cleanup), so you can focus on interacting with guests? 

Morgantown has no shortage of skilled chefs, but in our opinion, one of the very best is Marion Ohlinger. A twelfth-generation West Virginian, Ohlinger was born and raised on his family’s ancestral farm. His thirty-year career has carried him to over forty countries, five continents, and all fifty states. He has also captained kitchens in culinary hotspots across the nation (including backcountry Alaska, Seattle, and Vale, Colorado). These days, however, Chef Ohlinger is the owner of Hill & Hollow Food Truck, which specializes in catering! 

Considering that Chef Ohlinger was selected for the inaugural edition of the Best Chefs in America 2013, voted Morgantown’s Best Chef four times, and was awarded Best Chef in the WV Living Magazine 2015 readers’ awards, hiring him to cater your party is sure to delight even the most discerning diner.  

Tip 5: Upgrade Your Home 

If you’re not ready to host a holiday party in your current residence, maybe it’s time for a more inviting space. Luckily, White Diamond Realty offers several showcase homes that fit this description, including a lovely classic home perfect for holiday parties, just outside of Morgantown in Cheat Lake. Among its amenities is an expansive kitchen that’s perfect for hosting. This one is calling you home for the holidays