Planning a Holiday Party

It’s hard to avoid the sights and sounds of the upcoming holiday season. We are pretty sure Christmas trees and lights were spotted and confirmed in some of the big box *ahem Costco* stores as early as September, right there alongside the halloween items. We weren’t ready in September, but we are a bit more prepared now to at least think about the upcoming holiday season.  

Hosting an event in the November-January time frame can feel overwhelming because of the added pressure the season often brings.  Don’t let that stop you. Read thru our holiday party planning guide and if it still feels like too much, call us! We’d love to help plan your next celebration!

Set the stage and tone:

Where is the event being held? Consider logistics in advance: parking, coat drop, and perhaps even attempt to declutter entertainment/entrance spaces pre-party.  Private homes offer a more intimate, relaxed setting versus a restaurant or multi-use space that sometimes lack the ability for intimate interactions. Party venues also come with time restrictions, costs, but have the bonus option of professional staff.  Obviously hosting in a private home also entails consideration of your neighbors and the impact on your own family. If all else fails, make a list of pros and cons to visualize what works best for you and your party.

Size and audience matters:

Who will you include on your guest list? Inviting individuals who have nothing in common but you, the hostess, has the potential makings for an evening full of awkwardness.  However if you build your guest list more deliberately inviting friends from several groups (think the neighbors, college buddies, church family friends, work friends etc) the group will mesh easier, as everyone will know someone else besides the hostess.  If you envision a large, jovial crowd that will mix, mingle and get rowdy- perhaps your tiny apartment is not suitable but instead think about teaming up to co-host with a friend in another location. Don’t forget about the kids! Be sure to either deliberately include or exclude children, and carefully word this on your invitation.  

Food & Drinks:

We highly recommend limiting the menu, this helps keep costs down. Think signature cocktail, one or two wine varieties, a certain beer.  Know your crowd, if you have a non-drinking crowd then offer hot cider or a hot cocoa bar. The same is true for food. Keep it simple. If it’s in the budget, consider hiring a kitchen assistant to tend to food or a bartender to mix and serve drinks, this can feel both luxurious and help you enjoy the event.  If you are aiming for a more casual atmosphere go for the pot-luck or swap approach (beer or cookie swap).


No need to spend big bucks here.  A good playlist and a clip of the Yule Log do the trick.  If that’s not your speed, then go with what feels appropriate. And finally- you can always delegate this task to that certain “musically inclined” guest who you know would love to help.  

Where and when you decide to host your holiday event be sure to think about the details in advance. There is nothing wrong with keeping it simple. Most guests do not arrive with set expectations of cocktails and a full five course meal. Above all else- don’t forget to have fun!  

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