Holiday Party Planning

With parties, decorating, baking and other festivities, the holiday season can be a busy time of year. If you are looking to have a holiday party, plan early before you get over taken by all of the holiday to dos and you will have a blast.

Below are some things to keep in mind while you plan your party.

Venue, date and time

Venue, date and time are important to plan early. You want to give yourself plenty of time to plan before you need to be attending holiday events, wrapping gifts and everything else that goes on during the holiday season. Securing your venue early if you will not be having the party at home (and sometimes even if you are having it at home) will make sure you have your first choice of venue, date and time.

If you are having the party at your home, make sure you have everything you need as far in advance as possible. Things like coat racks can sell or rent out quickly.

This is also the time to decide if you will be having a sit down dinner or a buffet style party. If you are having a sit down dinner remember you have to seat everyone at the same time. If you do not have the tables and chairs to do that, consider renting them early so you know the items will be available.

Invitations

Invitations should be sent out at least 3 weeks prior to the event. During the holiday season it is a good idea to send them out earlier than that so people do not fill their calendars or miss the invitation in the mix of holiday cards.

If your guests will need to bring something such as a gift for a gift exchange or an ugly sweater for a contest you will want to give guests time to get those items ready.

When you are writing out your party invitations, be sure to include all of the following pertinent information so there is no confusion:

  • Date
  • Start and end time
  • Location
  • RSVP information (especially important for a sit down dinner party)
  • Theme if there is one
  • What guests should bring, if anything

Menu

By far the least stressful way to provide food and drinks for a party is to have it catered. If you will be short on time, this is a good route to go.

If, however, you want to do the cooking, plan on making easy things you have made before. This will help eliminate some of the stress. Also, consider making all finger foods and serving the food buffet style. This will eliminate the stress of a large dinner needing to be ready at a certain time and create less clean up after the party.

Another way to reduce the stress of food preparation is to make everything ahead of time and set your oven to 200 degrees to keep everything warm. This also works to keep buffet food warm so you can easily replenish the buffet.

Cocktails are fun, but time consuming as they are made as people want them and one drink at a time. Consider drinks such as punch, wine and beer that can be self-serve. This way you can enjoy your party instead of being a bar tender.

When you are planning your food and drinks, make sure you have enough cups, plates, spoons, forks and knives. If you do not, consider buying plastic wear or renting the items you will need.

Decorating

Lighting is important for any party. Consider turning off overhead lights and use candles and Christmas lights instead. This will create a warm glow for your party.

If you have a theme for your party, make sure to decorate for it. Otherwise, decorate your home for the holidays. This will make for a festive space for your party.

Some theme ideas are:

  • Winter wonderland
  • Green and red
  • White Christmas
  • Ugly sweater party
  • Christmas karaoke night
  • Christmas cast off exchange

Make sure to play holiday music or a holiday/party mix that is appropriate for the feel of the party.

Having some friends come over a few days before the party to decorate will make things easier and make decorating more fun.

Clean

Before the party starts, fill a tub with hot soapy water to put all of the dirty dishes in during the party. This will make them easy to clean the next day and will keep bugs at bay so you do not have to do them right after the party ends.

Place cleaning supplies near the party area for easy access so that spills can be cleaned up right away to prevent stains.

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