Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How to plan a successful, stress free holiday party






Here we are again at the time of year the decorations, the presents, the hype, the STRESS! Like many of you, I am hosting a few holiday parties. Here are a few tips on making your preparations stress free:

  1. Send Invitations( Ideally 2 weeks to 10 days before the party):
  2. Make things simpler by having your guests RSVP only if they are not attending.
Make Lists(write these down all in the same place. And again, the earlier the better):
  1. Purchasing / Grocery List
  2. Cleaning List
  3. Decorations
  4. Wardrobe
Assessing your needs for the party by making these lists will save you a lot of stress on the day of, and the days leading up to the party.



3. Keep the lists with you:

Have the pad or notebook that you wrote the list down in handy at all times and portable if possible so you can write down little things as you remember them. I find there is always something I have forgotten to write on one of my lists. This way there is virtually nothing that you forget.
    4. Map it out:

    Mapping out where the guests, food, games, and flow of the party is critical for the gathering to go off smoothly. Strategically setting up zones is also extremely helpful. Food zone, game zone, kid zone, etc.

    If you are having actual place settings for each individual, keep in mind those who may not get along well should never sit closely at the table. For a harmonious atmosphere, strategically place them on opposite sides of the table.
      5.Coats and Shoes:

      Plan ahead of time where coats, shoes, and purses will be put in a secure space for safe keeping until your guest's leave.
        6.Food:

        Think best case scenario. Make enough for the amount of guests you invited. You never know when last minute when someone's plan change and they end up coming even though they originally declined the invitation.

        7. Don't be the Martyr. Stressing yourself by making the perfect meal from scratch with every entrée, Iron Chef approved is not only not realistic, it causes way to much stress on you and in turn will not allow you to relax and enjoy the company of your guests.

          Instead, make a few signature dishes and assign out the rest to your guests or if you have the means, many local delicatessens would be happy to help you out with a few dishes. Just remember to plan ahead so the catering establishments you chose will have plenty of time to get your order ready.

            8. Clean up:
            Paper vs. China. Carefully weigh out your options when it comes to what you place your meal on. If you have a formal sit down dinner, china and flatware are appropriate. If it is casual, potluck most people use paper.

            1. When use paper remember the following:
            Make sure the paper plates are sturdy and big enough what is being served.
            Splurge on nicer, sturdy napkins. You won't regret it.
            Shop around and see if you can find festive, sturdy utensils.

            9. Don't expect perfection:

            Mentally prepare yourself for the realization that everything will likely not go as planned. A good host or hostess will let the small hiccups that may occur to roll off their back so that the guests and the evening will not be spoiled by minor incidents.

            That being said, preparing for possible hiccups is not a bad idea. So always have a plan B.

            Above all this is a party for pete's sake! So let yourself enjoy and don't sweat the small stuff. Happy party planning!


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