Formally Festive: how to be the hostess with the mostest (+ giveaway!)

This weekend, my friend Kelsey and I hosted our annual holiday bash, Formally Festive, for the sixth time. We’ve known each other since high school and attended Queen’s together, so we have a ton of mutual friends that we love to get together with over the holidays.

While a lot of things about Formally Festive have changed (like us forgetting to take a hostess photo this year and the length of my hair), one thing never has: Kelsey & I always have a plan in place to ensure none of our guests drink & drive.

No one likes to get preachy with their guests, so there are a few easy things you can do to ensure your guests have a great time while staying safe at your holiday bash.

1. Have food on hand throughout the night

Having a spread of delicious eats on hand is not only party etiquette 101: it also forces your guests to put the drink down long enough to put something solid in their stomachs. We’ve all fallen into the trap of having a light dinner pre-party with the plan to eat more once we arrive, only to end up having a liquid meal. Having food readily available and serving up new treats throughout the night is the best way to keep your guests safe & happy. The star of this year’s party? My co-host Kelsey’s Boston Bruins-themed birthday cake! 

2. Encourage guests to take public transit, have designated drivers or crash overnight

Along with our invite each year, we always include easy-to-follow directions for public transit, as well as offering up spots for guests to stay overnight. As a party host, you’re liable for your friends’ safety – both legally and for peace of mind – so provide your friends with options for safe travel to and from your party. A number of cab companies (and apps/services!) are offering up holiday deals, so keep your eyes peeled.

3. Serve up non-alcoholic drinks for DD’s and imbibers alike

There’s no need for your designated drivers to feel left out – mocktails and punches are a great way to quench their thirst and provide an alternative for other guests between alcoholic beverages. The LCBO-sponsored Deflate the Elephant website has some delicious recipes for holiday-themed mocktails that will make your guests forget they’re not imbibing. This recipe from one of my favourite Twitter ladies, Dee the Cocktail Deeva will get your guests in the spirit.

4. Deflate the Elephant

Despite your careful planning, it’s possible that you’ll have a friend who tries to get behind the wheel after a few too many. Keeping them from leaving may be hard, but it’s necessary. The LCBO’s Speak Up! iPhone app is a good way to keep your guest occupied while you call them a cab and can also open their eyes to the fact that they’ve had just one too many.

This holiday season, the LCBO’s Deflate the Elephant campaign has partnered with C0-op Cabs and Cabcom in Toronto to encourage people to plan ahead and get home safely. Every Saturday, starting December 8 until December 29, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., there will be a small number of specially outfitted cabs in Toronto with a large lit up elephant sign on the roof. If you spot one these special cabs and hop in, you’ll receive $10 off your ride!

If you happen to spot an elephant cab in the city, make sure you snap a pic and tweet it with the hashtag #TOelephantsighting for your chance to win a holiday hosting gift basket!

The LCBO, Co-op Cabs and Cabcom have also given me a gift basket worth $200 to give away to one lucky reader this holiday season! Whether you use it for yourself or gift it to a lucky hostess, it’s a great addition to any holiday party.

All you have to do is like this blog on Facebook and tell me what your #1 holiday hosting tip is in the comments. For extra entries, you can tweet a link to this contest and follow Co-op Cabs on Facebook & Twitter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy holidays!

Disclosure: I was contacted by the PR company handling this campaign for editorial consideration. As a thank you for hosting this giveaway, I’ll be sent a smaller gift basket of my own for the holiday season. As always, you’re seeing this content because it’s something I’m passionate about.