The holiday season is almost here and the parties will begin and continue until New Year’s. Unless you are Martha Stewart or you have learned as I have through trial and error, hosting a holiday party is not as simple as inviting friends and throwing some food together. There are little do’s and don’ts that you need to know about when hosting a holiday party. By following these tips, you will not make the same mistakes I have over the years and your holiday party will be a huge success.
Holiday Party Hosting Do’s
1. When you design you invitations, make it very clear whether this is an adult party or if children are invited. Do not leave this up to interpretation because you do not want your quests assuming anything. State very clearly either “children are invited” or “adults only please.”
2. Make a master list of everything you need to do to prepare for your holiday party. This is a must for a successful party – – do not leave anything to memory. Schedule everything from cleaning your home to buying supplies and setting up the music.
3. Take inventory of your party supplies at least three weeks in advance to ensure you have everything needed for the party. I assumed I had several breadbaskets only to realize that my daughter had used them as planters in her room. Go through your list and visually double check that you have every item needed for that night.
4. Do have more drinks that you think you will need for the evening. Drinks can be used after the party; therefore, do not be afraid to overstock on that party supply. It is dreadful to be at a party and they run out of beverages leaving guests with only water.
5. If you are having a large holiday party, do serve food buffet style unless you are fortunate to hire staff for the party. Trying to serve individual plates to twenty or more guests is almost impossible for one or two hosts. Buffet styles is perfectly acceptable for large parties and much easier to handle for the host.
6. If you have included children in the invitation to your holiday party, set a separate table for the children with simple activities (paper placemats with crayons and stickers) to keep them entertained. Also, have several children friendly foods (chicken nuggets, French fries, etc.) for the kids.
7. Also, if children will be included for the holiday party, consider setting up a separate room with video games and DVDs for the children to entertain them before and after dinner. Volunteer or hire a couple of responsible teenagers to supervise in that room.
8. Consider having a themed holiday party or a few simple games or conversation starters if you have not hired live entertainment. Nothing is worse than a dead party with no one talking or laughing. Games can be as simple and quick just to get people laughing and talking.
Holiday Party Hosting Don’ts
1. Don’t start huge home improvement projects in the weeks before your holiday party. Home improvement projects tend to have hiccups and you will be stressed for your party.
2. Don’t allow pets to mingle with your guests. If you do not have somewhere to put them in the house, then arrange for them to stay with someone or at a kennel for the night.
3. Of course you want your home to be beautiful for your holiday party; however, do not make it so that your guests feel as if they are in a museum. They should feel comfortable and at ease. If that means rearranging your furniture or borrowing extra chairs, do so well in advance of your party.
4. Holiday parties are not the time to try new recipes for the first time. If you plan on cooking something new, try it on your family a few times before the party to make sure you will get it right the day of the party.
5. Don’t answer your telephone during the party. Let calls go to voice mail and check voice mail after the party or if you must check messages, step into another room quickly but only return emergency telephone calls – – all others can wait.
6. Don’t allow guests to drink and drive. This should be common sense; however, it is a delicate subject. Plan how you will handle the matter should it arise and stick to your plan.