Host a Holiday Party Without Losing Your Sanity
Edited by Vanessa Alexandra Avisado, Robbi, Eng, Lynn
A holiday party for friends, family or co-workers does not really need the organization the military uses to plan their attacks. However, when it comes to orchestrating an unforgettable event to end the year with a bang, a certain level of planning and organization is required. In recent years, the event planning industry has been soaring. Aside from people's natural love for events and parties, the economic turmoil has LED people to find ways and means to continue parties despite limited resources. Not many people can do this; ergo, event planners.
One need not shell out too much for event planners, especially since anything you might need to host the party of the year can be found with a click of a button. The web is filled with fabulous ideas and steps to get you planning a holiday party without losing your sanity. Channel the world's top event planners and party hosts to deck the halls with class and ingenuity. This article focuses on the different tips and steps for hosting a holiday party, from set-up to clean-up, without ending up in an asylum. Interested? Keep reading.
The Holiday Party Check List
Getting organized is the first step in everything. Creating a check list helps you identify the things and services you require, as well as resources you might already have.
First you have to determine a date. Will your party be pre-Christmas or post-Christmas? Decide on the theme by either finding out trending parties for this year or settling on one you know will work.
It is always best to determine a budget and stick to it. A budget is made to ensure you do not go overboard; after all there is still life after the holidays. After identifying your theme, check out items and resources you already have that can be used.
The number of people is a crucial part in any holiday party. This affects the venue, budget and entertainment. Whether it is for family and friends or for colleagues it is best to settle on a number.
This is probably one of the most skimmed portion of the check list. However, this must be handled properly, as mismanagement for the invites will result in under or over booking. This will end up in one of two things, insufficient resources like food and tables, or too many resource like food wasted and paid for venues only half full.
Whether a caterer is utilized or everything is homemade, always double check the party's menu. Consider the guests, time and resources. Experts recommend sticking to mastered recipes and traditional favorites for a party with friends and family.
This stems out from the theme. Make the ambiance of the party festive by bringing out the big guns. Find theme-appropriate items in your home or borrow from friends before contemplating purchasing any new decorations like centerpieces.
Enjoying a holiday party can be quite boring without tunes. Set up your audio system and ask guests in advance what tunes they want to hear. This will ensure everyone will have a great time instead of getting stuck with an empty dance floor.
If you are having the party at your place, you should start clearing clutter and cleaning up a week before the event. Ensure the public areas like the kitchen, bathroom, living and dining room are spotless.
Experts recommend setting up two days before the holiday party. By doing so, you can get started with the decor and prepare the food that can be made in advance. This will also allow you an ample amount of time to assess if anything is missing or must be changed.
Before the party, prepare yourself. Have a long bath and take time for yourself. This will allow you to relax and have fun during the party.
Do not allow stale cake and booze to stay a day longer. Immediately clean up, ask your family to help you out. You can further relax if you have a clean home.
After the party, assess and determine where you succeeded and where you needed improvement. An example will be great food according to guests, but need to improve in choosing the right booze.
Getting through the check list is one thing, but succeeding with flying colors the first time you try to manhandle a holiday party is another. What follows is a list of tips and guidelines to make planning your holiday party easier.
Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Party
Easy but Exciting Entree:
Keep your party planning stress at bay by sticking to an easy menu. Find recipes that are do-ahead, while thinking of savory and sweet tastes. Adding store bought delicacies into the mix or opting to go cocktail with finger foods requires less preparation and less clean up. All in all, it is less stressful. A suggested menu includes beef and chive puffs, Thousand Island dip, maple glazed ham, gingerbread cookies and some store bought snacks to finish up the treats.
Today preparing a drinks table with punch might sound like a page from a cotillion handbook; however, letting your guests mix their own drinks offers so many possibilities. Setting up the bar with different liquor for your guests to make concoctions not only releases you from additional work and hiring a bartender, but it can also be a fun activity for the guests. Creating a game for whomever creates the best cocktail in a limited amount of time can be a tradition you start. Some easy mixes include pineapple mint punch, vodka cranberry cooler and bourbon ginger snap.
A holiday party cannot be what it is without setting up a mood. Do not spend extra by having dimmers installed or finding a holiday themed chandelier for your party. Settle the ambiance by adjusting the lighting. Install hued votive holders for a warm glow lighting. Decorate your holders depending on the theme and watch the soft light bounce around. Be sure to tape the switches so no one accidentally switches these off and ruin the ambiance. Continue the vibe by playing fun holiday music that is not too traditional. Overplaying back to back tracks of Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer can send your guests flying to the door before midnight. Find modern festive mixes instead.
Behind-the-Scenes: Keep everything settled by creating a system to make your post party life easier. Here are some ideas:
- Coat Rack - You can either rent a coat rack for as low as $20 or take out a stand. Set it by the door and place hangers on it so you do not have to place your guests' coats on a chair, table or bed.
- Soap Solution: In the kitchen, get the biggest plastic bin you've got and create a mixture of soap and water. As the party goes on, simply toss your dirty dishes and utensils in there for easy washing later.
- Fresh Air: If you live in a small house or apartment and you have a couple of people inside, it will get stuffy. Crack open a window for ventilation and adjust the thermostat as needed.
- Warm Food: Keep the food flowing, but keep it from becoming cold by setting the oven to 200 degrees. This is the best temperature for a warming oven. Imagine your guests munching on warm pasta or pie past midnight; what a treat.
Strategically shift the arrangement of your furniture. Create a flow that allows easy movement, if possible; temporarily remove decor and other items that can be broken during the party, like vases and photo frames. Anything that looks unstable must be moved or placed in storage temporarily.
Slow it Down: As the host, you have a say when the party is over. If you think it is time to close down the bar and you are a bit embarrassed to ask the people to leave, you can lower down the volume of the music and turn off other lights except for one. If some guests do not get with the program, then plan B is a go - start cleaning up. Avoid too much leftovers and a smelly home by doing the following.
- Leftover Boxes: If you are living alone or do not want any of the post party leftovers, give as much away as possible. You can purchase Chinese takeout boxes and offer your guests a take home treat. This will be better than an over-stuffed fridge and eventually, after a week, a fridge full of rotten food.
- Clean As You Go: While the guests are leaving, de-clutter a bit by taking all of the plates, utensils and glasses to the kitchen and making sure no food is left exposed.
Planning a holiday party without losing your sanity is definitely possible with the helpful tips and tricks discussed in this article. Good luck!
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Recent edits by: Eng, Robbi, Vanessa Alexandra Avisado