Throw the gala of the year.

4 tips for planning a post-Christmas winter gala

If you're tasked with organizing a big corporate or charity gala in the first few months of the year, you may find yourself short on event planning ideas. After all, while the holidays will be over and spent, it will still be far too early to opt for a spring or garden theme. However, with a little creativity and hard work, you can throw a winter bash that guests will remember as the party of the year. Here are some tips:

Choose your colors carefully:

Opt for a wintry color palette that eschews anything even remotely evocative of the holidays, staying away from red, green and blue. Metallics like gold, silver and bronze work well as long as they're paired with white or cream. Pale, icy pastels can make a stylish statement, and a black-and-white color scheme is always classic. Grey is another chic hue that is seasonally appropriate. 

Let there be light:

Wine Enthusiast recommends brightening up dark winter evenings with plenty of festive lights. Arrange an abundance of candles on every flat surface for a truly magical look. If the venue's outside entrance and/or patio areas boast attractive bushes and trees, drape garlands of lights to set the stage. (Just be sure the bulbs are small, white and tasteful, to avoid any association with Christmas lights.) 

Make the invitation especially inviting: 

After the flurry of holiday parties in December, many people may greet another invitation with less than their usual enthusiasm. To combat festivity fatigue, pay even more attention to your invitations than you usually do. We recommend layering a piece of vellum paper from our CT line over a sheet from Reich Paper's ever-popular Savoy series, now available in Grey. 

Plan for the weather:

Be prepared for extreme winter weather, including freezing temperatures, frigid rain and lots of snow. Event planner Rachel Hollis advises The Huffington Post's readers to provide the valet with plenty of umbrellas to protect guests as they get out of their cars. 

Serve seasonal fare:

After the holiday season, guests have had their fill of heavy, traditional food like roast turkey and potatoes au gratin. Serve up seasonal bounty in dishes that most people don't associate with the holidays, like caramelized Brussels sprouts or Beef Bourguignon. 

Warm it up: 

Temperature control is especially important when the temperatures are frigid. Be sure that it is temperate inside, but not so hot that your guests will feel uncomfortable. "When it's cold outside, especially if it's snowing, guest comfort becomes a heightened concern," celebrity event planner Preston Bailey tells HuffPo. "You want your venue to be warm and cozy but not stuffy. The more people you have in one room, the stuffier it can get. Ventilation is key."