If you want to get your friends rockin’ around the Christmas tree at this year’s holiday get together, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a few things right.

If you want to get your friends rockin’ around the Christmas tree at this year’s holiday get together, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a few things right. One of the most important things being your drink situation. Any sophisticated hostess will know that providing the drinks for her guests for the holidays is a must.

First, you need to know if you’re serving a set menu of festive cocktails or setting up a PIY (Pour It Yourself) station. Most people enjoy the freedom to make whatever they want and chances are, some of your guests will bring alcohol to the party to add to the fun so we recommend you go with a killer PIY station this year.


Before you head out to the grocery or liquor store, you’ll need to write down exactly what you’ll need to save time and money.

For starters, you’ll need to know how many guests are attending. The general advice is that your guests will consume 2 cocktails in the first hour or so, and 1 drink per hour afterwards. This is great advice for estimating how much alcohol, glassware etc. you’ll need to avoid last minute surprises.

You should also have an idea of the types of beverages your friends enjoy. Purchase more of what’s popular and add a few other choices (like a sweet liqueur or Prosecco bottle) to bring variety to the table. Don’t forget about the people who will not be drinking alcohol. Have something booze-free and fun for the designated drivers and non-drinkers, like a festive fruit punch or hot chocolate.

Here are some items you’ll need to take the number of guests into account for your shopping list:

  • Alcohol (have an extra bottle kept aside)
  • Juice and sodas
  • Lemons and limes
  • Cranberries (for a pop of Christmas colour)
  • Mint and rosemary
  • Straws, toothpicks and stir sticks
  • Napkins
  • Bags of ice
  • Glassware

The night before your party, cut your garnishes and take out your pitchers and carafes to hold your drink mix. You’ll also need spoons and tongs for serving ice.

You don’t necessarily need a complete set of glassware to pull off a great set up. You can mix and match different glasses from your local thrift shop. Just try to stick to festive designs and a colour scheme to unify the whole look. If this is going to be your best holiday PIY station ever, we suggest you forget about using plastic glasses.


For your bar location, pick a spot that is away from high traffic areas. You’ll need to have a table or counter or surface you can move to an ideal place in your home. Use a table cloth or trays to protect your surface (spills will happen).

Have enough space for your bottles, garnishes, barware, glasses and touches of festive décor. Don’t overdo it. Overcrowding the table can make your guests more likely to knock things over so be mindful of space and organize things where they’ll be easy to grab. Stashing a tray of clean glasses underneath your set up or somewhere nearby will help with keeping room on the PIY table and for easy glass replenishing.

You might also want to keep a few munchies or small appetizers close to your PIY display to keep your guests from drinking on an empty stomach.


Here are some festive arrangements and ideas that we’re totally crushing on. Get inspired and good luck arranging your holiday PIY!


Adding fairy lights or any kind of lighting adds warmth to any room. A great way to make your PIY station stand out and to get your guests excited.


You can never go wrong with decorating your bar cart or surface with seasonal foliage. Try using pine, poinsettia, evergreen, holly or clementine on the vine.


Nothing spreads holiday cheer like festive and positive reminders. Write something fun & impactful on a wall or chalkboard, buy cute napkins with witty messaging or even print out a verse from your favourite holiday song and place it in a photo frame.


Since it’s the holidays, the garnishes on your self-serve bar should be holiday inspired! Use cranberries, rosemary or cinnamon sticks to take your cocktails from ordinary to extraordinary.


Try making your own holiday stirrers by wrapping and taping tinsel around the top of each stick. Easy to accomplish and super cute!

Do you have tips for styling your holiday PIY station? Bring on the inspo and share in the comments.