Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Planning Guide for a Happy Hostess: 6 Tips for Preparing for Holiday Parties

The holidays are in full swing and with Thanksgiving down, Christmas is right around the corner…and it feels as though you’ve barely recovered from last year’s celebrations that revolved around a family reunion at your mother-in-law’s house. Well this year, whether it’s your turn to entertain the family or if you’re taking on the task of throwing your very own holiday bash….here are a few tips to keep it together when you find yourself wrapped in tinsel and up to your elbows in yams:

Tip #1: Make a game plan. You’re busy making a wish list with all sorts of fabulous items that Santa better bring (after all, you have been a very good girl this year), but it’s time to put that away and get serious about creating a to do list for your holiday party that will be here before you know it.

Because of how crazy December can get, it is best to start making your party plans far enough in advance so that you are not overwhelmed… ask yourself a few key questions: What is the exact date and time of your party? How large will your party be—will you be able to throw it at your home or will it require a venue? If you do need a venue, be sure to get on that immediately, as all the good spots will be all booked up by other savvy party people like yourself.

Tip #2: Set a budget. Once you’ve made a general party outline, the budget can be easily determined. Also be sure to factor in things like food and drink, decorations and activities. If your party is on the smaller side and you happen to be on the crafty side…save some funds that can be put towards Christmas shopping by making your own food, drink and décor.

Tip #3: Decide on a theme. Whether you’re throwing a family get together centered on a spectacular feast, or renting out a ballroom at the trendiest hotel in town for your company’s annual Christmas party, every great hostess knows that every great party has a great theme.

Winter Wonderland, anyone? Or maybe surround your Christmas party around a toy-drive for needy children in your community. Once you pick a theme, you can start gathering decorations—here, the sky is the limit and this is the time to get creative while raiding your local craft stores!

Tip #4: Choose a menu. In many cases, food is what makes or breaks a party. And without a doubt, the holidays provide the best time for some good, guilt-free eating—it’s okay, your New Year’s resolution is to hit the gym anyways. So depending on the size of your party, decide on whether you will be serving a meal or just finger foods. Also take into consideration the kind of drinks you will be serving. Will you need a bar with a bartender?

Tip #5: Invite your people. So you’ve got all of your major party plans set and you’re ready to go on the invitations. Calendars fill up fast during the celebratory season so be sure that you make calls, email, or send traditional invitations by mail in plenty of time. You won’t be feeling too festive when you are all by yourself under the mistletoe pounding eggnog in a tacky sweater and singing along to a Mariah Carey Christmas album just because you didn’t send out invites well enough in advance.

Tip #6: Tie up loose ends. Your holiday party is now rapidly approaching on the horizon and with all of your diligent preparations per usual, it is sure to be the most talked about event of the year. Now you just need to double check your list of guests who have RSVP-ed, make sure you have the venue, menu, and décor finalized, pick up any last minute supplies and then get ready to celebrate. Since you’ve taken the time and planned properly, this year you won’t feel like you need a holiday after the holidays!

Sabrina Jackson is an author who contributed this piece on party planning. In addition to topics like this, Sabrina also writes about the benefits of online dating for Best Free Dating Sites.