I’m really not kidding in my bio when I say I have been hosting dinner parties since high school.
On a scale way too grand for a fourteen or fifteen year old, I would spend weeks planning my fete. I’d corral gifts for every friend that was set to attend and spend all day cooking. To me, it was a nice way to give all of my friends their presents in one fell swoop.
Grown-up Holiday Party Guests
Back in those days, I would invite my socially homogeneous group of fifteen or twenty close friends to my holiday party. Or really any party.
But as an adult — or grown-up, if you will — party, homogeneity is exactly what you don’t want. A stand-up, hors d’oeuvres-driven party presupposes mingling. And mingling, according to Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webster, is to bring together different elements without a fundamental loss of identity.
Same group identity? No mingling.
Mix it Up
So now, at my annual holiday party, I bring together people from all different areas of my life.
Thankfully I travel in diverse circles. One year, we had a tango performance followed by an impromptu salsa class from one of Boston’s best and kindest teachers. People traded obscure French lounge music on their laptops in one room while some Asian med students enjoyed their first encounter with mulled wine too much in another.
When you bring together diverse groups of people, interesting things are bound to happen. And you never know what connections will be made.
Compiling the Guest List
For a good cocktail party, you need to reach to the edges of your address book — of Google contacts list, as most people use these days — and invite co-workers, old friends, your favorite barista, your best friends’s boyfriend’s cute buddies, and your ex’s friends that you wish you had kept in better touch with.
If you think that you don’t know people from different groups or different backgrounds, ask your friends to help with the guest list. That’s a surefire way to bring in some new characters.
A variety of backgrounds, experiences, and potential conversation topics will make your party sparkle.