It is that time of year again and I am sure many of you are prepping to host the holiday party this year. We all know hosting a party can easily suck the fun out of it if you let yourself get too stressed out. So this year make a plan, get prepared, and get ready to actually enjoy your party. Here are some tips to make sure you can do just that.
1. Plan, Plan, Plan – By this I mean really plan it, schedule everything and make a to do list. Plan to the point that people think you are the crazy planning lady. I just did this for Thanksgiving and it went great. I made every item from scratch for our dinner and wasn’t even stressed out (well… maybe on moment of stress when we realized the turkey was still frozen, but other than that we did well and the turkey ended up being delicious). I went ahead and copied pages from my planner for the entire week before the party, made a to do list for every day and planned out the timing for when everything needed to be made, cleaned, etc. Even I can admit it does seem very excessive, but it worked. Everything that needed to get done got done, I stressed way, way less than I would have imagined I did and the day of, the compliments came rolling in. So I cannot stress enough, you can never plan too much.
2. Prep Ahead if Possible – If you will have food plan it at least 2 weeks in advance and only plan things you can make ahead so you are not stuck in the kitchen all day on party day. Plan to buy all grocery items and drinks the week before the party as well. This way by the week of you just have to prep the food. There will be no last minute menu changes and no major trips to the store.
3. Do not do more than you know – If you are known for your amazing cooking and party hosting skills then by means go all out Martha Stewart style. However, if you are more of a takeout and a bottle of beer person then make the party suit you. Your friends and family know who you are and won’t be disappointed. You can easily purchase food to eat and drinks from the store. Just put a little effort into the display. Set up a beverage area with glasses, select bottles of booze or wine. Make sure you have ice and any beer in a bucket or cooler. Nicely display it all so everyone can serve themselves. If you purchase food from the store, just change its packaging. Don’t set out plastic containers, transfer dips and things like that to serving bowls and place other appetizers on serving trays. Arrange the food nicely so it doesn’t look like it came from the store and the party will still look great and you will look great, rather than being stressed out for taking on more than you could handle.
4. Get all decorating done early – It is a holiday party and it is acceptable to have your holiday décor as the only décor. So as soon as you can deck your house out for the holidays do it. The is great for you because you get to have a festive home all season and it means your home is already prepped for the party. You do not need any extra decorations. The only décor prep you need will be planning how to display any food you are serving and the beverage area.
5. Prep a space for coats – Many people might throw these things on a bed in a spare room. If you are like me, that spare room may not be as clean as you want so you prefer to close the door and hide it from guests or you just don’t want people (no matter how well you know them) poking around in your private rooms. Here is a great solution. Empty the coats out of your coat closet or hall closet and throw your own coats on the bed to hide just for the party. Fill the closet with hangers and let the guests hang their coats there. This way you are not trying to grab coats from each person as they walk in and you are not wasting time retrieving them every time someone wants to leave. This is an easy way for guests to serve themselves and it keeps them out of the private areas of your home.
6. Stock the Bathroom – This seems like a no brainer, but it is also something you may overlook at the last minute. Make sure there is toilet paper stocked and somewhere where guests will find it so they are not looking through everything for it. Be sure the soap dispenser is full of soap and either make sure to check your towels as the night goes on or get some festive disposable hand towels for the party. There is nothing worse than going to dry your hands on gross, excessively wet towel from people drying their hands all night.