Below you’ll find a few of our top tips to prepare yourself and your home for your upcoming holiday celebration.
- Pick your party style.
Are you hosting a casual mixer for business associates or a formal, sit-down dinner for relatives? Are you planning to serve a meal via buffet or potluck style? Who you’re inviting and how you’d like to serve your food and refreshments will assist in determining what items you prepare ahead of time, like tablescapes and party favors, for the big event.
- Who’s on the list?
One of the first and most crucial steps of your party planning will be to create a guest list and send out invitations. Be sure to notify guests of your get-together at least three weeks in advance, as weekends during the holiday season typically fill up quickly. Requesting RSVPs will allow you to plan for a definite number of guests, and prepare for any special diets or other needs ahead of time.
- Create a menu.
Don't go overboard trying to impress your guests with labor-intensive foods. Rather, aim to prepare simple, easy-to make dishes. If you’re planning a more casual party, stick to finger foods that require less clean up and minimal utensils. For hot foods, oven-to-table casserole dishes will assist you in quickly and attractively displaying your meal.
- Decorate in advance. Small, simple decorations can really set the stage without being time consuming and expensive. Décor like flowers, candles and nature-inspired pieces, like this centerpiece from LL.Bean, help fill empty spaces while keeping your home from looking overly decorated or stuffy.
- Prepare appetizers ahead of time.
Greet your guest with hors d'oeuvres by making a quick list a few days before your party which includes easy to access recipes. Preparing your appetizers a few hours before guests arrive, or even the day before if the particular appetizer allows, will free you up to finish any last touches before your doorbell starts to ring.
- It’s all about atmosphere.
If possible, utilize warm lighting, like soft white bulbs and candles, to create a cozy environment. Decorating with metallic accents, like this cone tree from Nordstrom, will help absorb and reflect the warm glow of candle light, creating a festive mood. In addition, choose music that sets an appropriate tone for your gathering. Utilize a service like Apple Music or Spotify to create a holiday playlist beforehand.
- Arrange your space.
In the chilly winter season, guest's jackets and coats have a way of piling up near the front door or on the side of a couch. Prepare ahead of time by renting or buying a standing coat-rack, like this one from World Market, for guests to deposit their coats on as soon as they step in the door. You may also consider rearranging your living space to accommodate additional guests and help them flow in and out of rooms without obstacles. If you have been putting off buying a coffee table, chairs, ottoman or other important furniture, now may be the time to buy those pieces, helping make your home a more gracious place to host a party.
- Set the bar.
Give yourself more time to mingle by setting up a self-service bar where guests feel comfortable making their own holiday cocktails and snacks. Designate a table, shelf or kitchen island for guests to serve themselves appetizers and drinks. Ensure you have a sufficient amount of utensils, dishes and glasses to serve your guests without having to run the dishwasher mid-party!
A little preparation ahead of time can make you holiday shindig one to remember! Keeping these holiday hosing tips in mind will assist in a joyous occasion for you and your guest.