Why not try a new spin on a holiday get-together, one that’s a little less formal and a lot more fun? This year we’re loving the idea of throwing a retro holiday cocktail party; it’s got style and will help your fete stand out from the rest. Read on for our retro-inspired tips!
Dress code: Vintage!
Celebrating the vibe of the ‘50s and ‘60s can and should extend to the clothes you wear. For inspiration, try channeling any of the characters from the TV show Mad Men, where the ladies and gents were always elegantly and smartly dressed. (Gorgeous mid-century modern furniture optional.) Ladies attending a retro holiday cocktail party will want a fit-and-flare silhouette, which can be achieved by wearing a flouncy dress, a full midi skirt, or anything high-waisted that accentuates your shape. Guys can wear a trim, fitted suit with a skinny tie, or (a little more comfortably) a cardigan over a t-shirt and jeans with the cuffs rolled up. Bonus points for a pair of retro glasses!
Drinks: Throwback cocktails
Retro cocktails are reason in itself to throw a great party, don’t you think? Because playing bartender all night appeals to nobody, make sure to set up a drinks area where guests can serve themselves. Decide on one or two signature mixed drinks—a Sidecar, an Old Fashioned, or maybe some Rum Punch—display the instructions for how to make them, and enjoy the night! Have cranberries or sprigs of rosemary on hand for a holiday twist. If you have a separate bar cart, even better; stock it with mixers, water, and a few non-alcoholic options. For a truly communal experience, try a festive punch bowl!
Food: Old-School Hors d’Oeuvres
There is no shortage of yummy options when it comes to retro hors d’oeuvres. Thankfully, preparing these is simple and straightforward; unfussy was the order of the day. Choose appetizers based around your favourite ingredients and they are sure to disappear fast! Serve clams casino, bacon-wrapped stuffed dates (unless you’re brave enough to try the original version of rumaki made with chicken livers!), baked brie bites, cocktail meatballs, and shrimp with green chile cocktail sauce. These mini morsels will keep everyone in festive spirits.
Soundtrack: Honour The Era
If you’ve got a turntable and a cache of vinyl holiday records, great! Instant points for authenticity! If you don’t, simply make your own playlist using your streaming service of choice. Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, and Andy Williams all had holiday albums out with songs that have become enduring classics. They will set the perfect retro holiday cocktail party mood for mingling and catching up. There are decades of great tunes to choose from!
Decor: Kitsch Rules
One of the best things about hosting a retro holiday cocktail party is you can use every dish you’ve ever owned—literally. The more hodge podge and homey your collection, the better! The decor should absolutely involve mismatched plates, kitschy tableware, a punch bowl, and a fondue pot for dessert, if you have one. Showpieces and conversation starters were big back then, so no matter how “different” some of your pieces may be, they’ll fit in perfectly!
Why not take the plunge and host a themed holiday party this year? It’s not hard to do and your guests are sure to remember the whimsical night. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow the Gemterra Developments blog for more great entertaining tips!