Your Holiday Party Checklist

Julianne Sawyer · Dec 7, 2019

The doorbell rings. “Just a minute!” you shout, while hastily removing your grease-stained apron and shoving it into a drawer. Something delicious (not nearly finished) is bubbling on the stove, guests are at the door, and you aren’t even remotely ready. What started out as a small get-together has suddenly grown into the event of the season. What have you gotten yourself into?

Not to worry––we’re here to help. This guide will assist you in pulling off a classy evening that even Martha would be proud of. Today, we’re sharing all of our best strategies to throw a fantastic holiday party for your friends and loved ones.

Choosing The Perfect Holiday Party Theme

A clear theme is essential to creating a cohesive party vibe. Holiday celebrations can run the gamut from ugly sweater parties to black-tie soirees. Therefore, it’s best to communicate your party’s dress code in advance. Nothing would make a guest feel more out-of-place than arriving to a dressy holiday fête in the wrong look.

Create a simple e-vite on Canva or Paperless Post and send it to your party guests at least a week before the event. This gives your guests time to plan their outfits and shop if they need to. If you are going to take lots of group photos, suggest a color palette to make the group look cohesive. Having a well-communicated theme is key to creating a fun and enjoyable atmosphere at your party.

Nailing Your Holiday Party Logistics

On the day of the party, things may get a little hectic. While we love an impromptu bash, the get-togethers that really shine are the ones that run smoothly, with every detail perfectly thought-out in advance. Running out of carrot sticks is one thing, but running out of champagne? We don’t even want to think about it.

Knowing how many guests have RSVP’d “yes” is a prerequisite to provide enough food and drink. If you followed our suggestion to send an e-vite, you should have an idea of how many people are going to attend. A good rule of thumb is to calculate one pound of food and one to two beverages per hour for each adult attendee. If you don’t have an accurate headcount, try to gauge a rough estimate by using the same formula. This will ensure that your guests will have enough to eat and drink.

Another important thing to note, timing is everything at a party. Any professional party planner worth their salt has at least a rough itinerary and checklist to ensure that the event runs smoothly. Here is a basic party timeline to give you some inspiration:

Before your guests arrive:

  • Finish any last-minute cooking and/or baking.
  • Move furniture to arrange your seating. Minimal seating will encourage mingling, so don’t stress about not having enough chairs for everyone.
  • Arrange your appetizers and snacks.
  • Don’t forget––leave enough time to yourself to shower and get dressed.

During the party:

  • Fire up an awesome playlist. Knowing a few crowd favorites is a great place to start.
  • If you’re playing mixologist, have a couple of drinks ready to go for the first guests that walk through the door.
  • Have fun and enjoy––just because you’re hosting doesn’t mean you can’t let a little loose.

After the party:

  • Gather any trash or recyclables.
  • Corral dirty dishes, glassware, and pots and pans in the kitchen. You can leave the kitchen cleanup ‘til the morning.

Don’t Forget The Party Ambiance

A killer playlist, spot-on food and drinks, and enough space to mingle are critical components to creating a great party atmosphere. Spotify curates holiday playlists for every mood, so play one of those to ensure that the music will be on point the whole evening. It’s a good idea to have something that’s sparkling and non-alcoholic on hand for those who don’t want to partake but still want to feel festive. Create space to mingle by moving the furniture aside. Turn up the tunes, rock around the Christmas tree, and go all out for your evening of merrymaking.

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