Hosting a holiday party or having friends and family over for dinner seems like a fun and exciting idea, until, that is, you begin the frantic hostess entertaining dance. “I need to clean my house. What should I do about decor? How am I going to seat all these people? What will I prepare? Do I need to send an invite? How will I get it all done?” These questions and more fly through your heads as you set out to host a flawless party.
But wouldn’t it be more fun if you could have a stress-free process and actually sit down and enjoy the time with your guests? We think so, and here are some ways you can achieve it.
One Month Before: Make a “Who’s Attending” list. Find out how many people you will be hosting. Once you have your list, figure out what kind of gathering it will be. Is this a cookie exchange? Casual brunch?Sit down dinner?
Next, decide if you want your guests to contribute anything (we suggest “yes” – share the work, take people up on their offer to bring something). Write down who is responsible for bringing what. This will allow you to quickly get an idea of what your menu will look like. Now that all the details above have been sorted out, it’s time for logistics. Set a date and time and decide how you want to send out invitations. By phone? Maybe email?
2 Weeks Before: Finalize your menu. What type of meal will this be? Is it appetizers only? Sit down dining? Write down specifically which recipes you are going to make. Prepare two grocery lists, one fornon- perishables (shop 2 weeks in advance) and one for perishables (shop about 2 days in advance). Plot out on your calendar when you will make which dish, take care of which task, and see that you can get it all done.
1 Week Before: Either bring out the vacuum yourself or, if you can, hire the help of a cleaning service. Make sure you enlist your families help to keep in clean between this point and the party. Now that your home is spick and span, decide what décor you would like. Flowers? Candles?
2 Days Before: Purchase those perishables. Tidy up the house if need be. After all, life happens and a home does not always stay as clean as it was last week you or a service gave it a Pine-sol makeover. This is also the chance to prepare any dishes you can make ahead of time.
The Day Of: Finish any meal preparation. Tidy your home up again if necessary. Hopefully this is simply wiping down a countertop here and there. Hop in the shower and get ready for your guests. Light those candles and turn up those holiday favorites!
Lastly, don’t forget to be a guest at your own party! After all the effort you went through to host a truly fabulous holiday get-together, you deserve to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Your guests will be glad you can join them.
Happy Holiday Entertaining!