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This is the happiest time of the year — with presents overflowing and time off from school — it’s the perfect time to throw a holiday bash for you and your friends.

Here’s my guide to throwing an awesome holiday shindig:

1. Give it a theme
While the “Tacky Christmas Sweater Party” is an oldie but a goodie, it can be redundant when you’ve already been to three of these already this month. Try coming up with a unique theme that you and your guests will have a blast making costumes for. What about having “Dress As Your Holiday Character” or “Dress As the Worst Gift Ever” parties instead? Not only do you have another excuse to wear a silly costume (because, honestly, Halloween isn’t enough), but you will have the party that people talk about for months to come. If you’re looking for a costume idea, check out these elf ones!

2. Create an epic playlist
A holiday party isn’t a holiday party without the appropriate tunes! Check out the holiday playlists Spotify has to offer for some ideas. And don’t be afraid to throw in some alternatives to the classic tunes. While many of my friends fight me on this — actually, let’s be real, ALL of my friends fight me on this — the Justin Bieber holiday CD makes for some fun listening. Feel free to fight me on this one in the comments but make sure to add your own suggestions!

3. Give in to your sweet tooth
If you’re going to throw a holiday party, you have to be able to deliver on the snacks. Just throwing some chips in a bowl will not do! Thankfully, Pinterest has all sorts of ideas for cute (and delicious) holiday treats. In just a minute of searching, I was able to find Eggnog Cupcakes, Snowman Stirrers and Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies. Another holiday favorite of mine is the Buckeye (an Ohio tradition). Not only are they easy to make, but they are always a hit!

4. Decorate, decorate decorate!
Without a little garland, there’s no holiday party! You don’t have to spend a fortune on decorations. All you need is a little creativity, some friends with mad crafting skills and a trip to The Dollar Store. Even the tiniest details make for a fun party atmosphere. One of cutest things I’ve found are “Reinbeer” … all you need to buy is a pack of beer, a few cheap crafting items and you have a great addition that your guests will love. I also love some of the ideas I found in this blog post – especially the ribbons around the chairs and doors.

5. Make sure everyone has a ride home
Take the car keys away, call a cab or do whatever you have to do so that nobody makes the mistake of driving home drunk. It is your responsibility to make sure your guests get home safely. Step up, be responsible and make sure that nobody makes the dumb decision of getting behind the wheel after one too many.

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