The Kardashians are known for many things – popularising the rotund bottom for example, perpetuating the “famous for being famous” celebrity and of course, taking selfies. But there’s one thing the K fam’, and in particular matriarch Kris Jenner, is known for that we can all learn from. No, not how to use our children for massive financial gain, but how to host the most fabulous Christmas party known to man. Jenner has been throwing Christmas Eve shindigs at her Calabasas home since Kim, Kourtney and Khloe were knee high to a grasshopper, and in recent years we’ve all been privy to their inner workings, thanks to social media.
Unfortunately though, only a select few make the guestlist. So unless you’re planning on marrying youngest sibling Rob, it’s better you plan your own fabulous festive bash instead. Take a leaf out of Kris’ book, follow our expert advice, and you’ll have an intimate at-home bash the Kardashians would be er, klamouring to get into. Ahem.
Every good party takes some hard work behind the scenes, but it’ll all be worth it in the end, right? Sure it can feel like organising takes the fun out of the event, but a degree of preparation is absolutely necessary.
“It sounds obvious, but making sure you set aside some time for planning is crucial, as well as getting the date in diaries as soon as possible – Christmas is such a busy time,” says Marion Carpentier, group food and hospitality director for Harvey Nichols. “I’ve recently started using Paperless Post which is a brilliant website that allows you to create invites, send out e-invitations and manage guest lists online.” Marion has a point — it is a very busy time, so don’t be too put out if not all your guests can make it. A party should never hang on one or two key attendees – although we imagine Kris Jenner would be quite put out if her star son-in-law Kanye West didn’t show up.
Creating the right ambiance and atmosphere is so important to any party, and with a festive occasion the hard work is already done for you — the theme is Christmas, so go all out! Twinkling fairy lights will create an intimate vibe, the playlist will do most of the work for you and decorating is easy.
All that’s really up to you to decide is how formal or casual an event it is, and most importantly, who to invite. “The most important element of party planning at Christmas is the guest list, and ensuring that your guests will mix with one another. The key elements in defining a fantastic party are good food, great wine and interesting conversation,” says Brown Thomas Creative Director John Redmond.
“A good host will take the time to consider the seating plan, if there is to be one, to ensure that there is a mix of personalities and that all introductions are made on arrival. The host should try to spend as much time as possible with their guests, so I would suggest preparing what you can in advance!”
“The party starts at the front entrance to your home, so the wreath on the door is the first decoration to greet your guests and this reflects the theme of the evening,” says John. The Christmas tree is going to be the centre point of the party, so look to it for inspiration – are you a classic red and green kinda household, more likely to go for metallics, or walking in a winter wonderland with snowy accents?
If you truly want to host a party worthy of Kris Jenner, stick to the classics. Her house is a monochrome masterpiece, all black and white Harlequin tiles, and lends itself well to emerald and garnet hues with gold accents. She steers well clear of any kiddie decorations, catering to her primarily adult guest list, and everything is sleek and slick.
There isn’t a need to spend a fortune — your regular Christmas decorations will work wonders.
“Just because it’s Christmas, it doesn’t mean taste has to go out the window,” says TXFM host and music blogger Nialler 9. “Ease off on playing all of the Band Aid singles and stick on some music that is seasonal. Something from the Phil Spector Christmas album, A Charlie Brown Christmas and Fairytale Of New York would be encouraged!”.
Nialler says staggering the playlist so the tunes become more raucous as the night goes on is a good idea. By all means, start with Michael Buble’s Christmas album, but prepare to be bopping to Journey by night’s end.
Brenda Lee - Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping
Ryuichi Sakamoto – Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
The Ronettes - Sleigh Ride
Kurtis Blow - Christmas Rappin’
Kris has Santa Claus visit her home every year. One might think he’d be pretty busy on Christmas Eve, but he makes it his business to visit America’s most famous family. Unfortunately we don’t all have the budget to hire a lookalike St Nick, but convincing your other half or a family member to dress up as Santa will definitely raise a laugh, even if it’s an all-adult affair. Just make sure you don’t mind people queueing to sit on his knee… The Kardashian-Jenners always have a photobooth too, but again, we mere mortals don’t have the cash to set up a professional scenario in our homes. Still, it’s easy to create your own.
Find a quiet corner of the house and create a backdrop: either the wall itself or hang a poster people can post in front of. Beauty lighting can be created with a strategically placed lamp.
You can buy cute Christmas photobooth props for next to nothing too – partyparlour.ie have some Elfie Selfie decorations for €8.99.
Now all you have to do is decide on your mode of photography – you can get a retro Fujifilm Instax camera for around €100 that pops out mini Polaroids, but beware – the film is expensive, and people tend to nick them.
Or just as good is a classic disposable camera or a tablet if you’re trustworthy. Alternatively, simply encourage people to use their own phones.
If you’ve a teenager that needs entertaining for the night, photobooth duty is a great idea.
“I’m a big advocate of home-made party food” says Indy Power of thelittlegreenspoon.com. “I like buffet style at Christmas parties, it’s an excuse to make loads of options and everyone can choose what they like. It’s also a lot less hassle, once everything’s cooked you can just leave it out.” For a sweet tooth, Indy recommends making a chocolate bark. “Melt down good quality dark chocolate, pour it into a lined tin and sprinkle on toasted nuts, seeds or dried fruit and leave to set. Then you just snap it into chunks and serve!”.
“Never allow a guest to have an empty glass – that’s my worst nightmare!” says Marion. The easiest is to make a big bowl of festive punch, so guests can help themselves. IKEA sell a drink called Glogg that’s a non-alcoholic spiced apple mix that you can easily add fruit and the spirit of your choice to – think of it as a Christmassy Pimms.
And try out own brand Prosecco — it’s just as good as Champers.