Ahh the holiday parties; nothing sets the mood for a holiday like a good party, right? These parties are something I look forward to every year, and somehow I forget all of the work that goes into them. I always think I have things under control, but end up leaving too much for the day of the party. Two years ago, I offered to tend my friend's kids the day I was hosting a party thinking, "Ohh, I can totally get everything done afterwards." HA HA HATo prepare for this year's annual party at my house, I have done a bit of tip compiling to keep my head above water. I want to absorb the fun, rather than cry in the bathroom ten minutes before guests arrive!
Keep a "party planner" or checklistThe best thing you can do for yourself is to start writing down and organizing your plans, to-do's, and needs the very minute you commit to hosting. Normal life responsibilities don't magically melt away when you are a preparing host, so you can't expect yourself to remember and keep everything straight. Besides, isn't checking things off a list so satisfying?!
Research serving needs for your party numbersOnce you have created a guest list, you will want to get a good idea of how much to serve. A good internet or Pinterest search will help you! Nothing makes a host sweat like running out of food during a party! Obviously having more food than you need isn't the worst, but even then, you could have saved some money if you didn't need as much as you prepared. Let's face it, saving money during the holidays is always a must! You might not actually be keeping it for a long time, but at least you'll have it to go towards presents or family photos!
Have a handful of pre-planned activitiesI am a fan of low-key parties that allow friends and family to mingle and interact as they please. But sometimes you just need a game or activity to get the party juices flowing, right? No need to have anything extravagant or out of this world; a themed word scramble or guessing game with a small prize is perfect!
Say NO to complicated decorI guarantee you that with an hour search on Pinterest you can find plenty of free printables and ideas that will only take you a handful of minutes. Everyone always says "it's all in the details," and I agree with them if that means that the details can be finished with the click of the print button. The bottom line is the following: if your party is about equal parts men and women (maybe a little brood of kiddos mixed in too?), then 50% or more of the people there will hardly recognize or care about the decor. So the women might notice it and comment about it on their way in, but they really won't be sitting there analyzing it the whole night. Simple and quick is the ticket my dears!
Shop and prepare days beforeYes, I know that some things must be done the day of. That is exactly why you want to do everything else days before! Shopping for supplies? Before! Things that can be made and stored perfectly until the day of? Do it days before! Decorating?... you get the idea right? This right here is exactly the tip that I know will save my behind this year!
Lay your tablescape the day before your partyLaying things out the night before the party allows you to do a sort of run-through and double check that you have everything to fill your dishes, have the dishes you need, and haven't forgotten to get spoons for the soup (ahem...me...ahem.) This also allows you super detail-oriented people to have the time to tweak everything to look just how you want it to!
Have a background music playlist ready to goThis is something that I always think of ten minutes into a party, and then I find myself saying "does anyone have good tunes they want to put on?" Uhhh yeah, people don't really volunteer their music choices in a room full of people they might not really know! Just take a few minutes before the doorbell starts to ring to find a good and festive playlist on your favorite music app!
Let people help youSometimes this is easier said than done. Whether you don't want to bother people, don't like to delegate, or don't feel like you know your guests well enough, if someone offers to help, let them help you! People usually only offer to help because they genuinely want to, or they are just awesome and can tell that you are in a little over your head and want to help you keep your sanity! You don't have to let them be your assistant party planner, but help really is well...helpful!
So, what do you think? I know this list will definitely help me be a more prepared host! If you are a hosting guru, leave us a comment with your tried and true tricks! I am willing to bet that everyone is grateful for a helpful tip (or two) for the ---oh--so- wonderfully busy holiday season!
Written by: Alyssa Liston