The Holiday season is coming close. Everywhere you turn, Christmas is in the air. If you are like me, who loves celebrating Christmas, hosting unforgettable gatherings for friends and families can be both a rewarding and stressful experience! To decrease the stress as much as possible so that you can fully enjoy the party and embrace every minute of your event, I have come up with a step by step timeline of entertaining preparation to share with you. I will also share some useful tips on making the party that much more successful and magical. Enjoy entertaining like a true hostess! Happy Holidays!
A Week Before the Party
Finalize your guest list.
Unlike entertaining during other times of the year, when you can send out invitation two to three weeks prior to the event, Christmas is a season when everyone has parties lining up to attend. It is best that you send out invitations a month to six weeks in advance, and finalize your guest list a week before the party.
TIP: Consider hiring help for parties of ten or more. You will have more time to enjoy your guests. For larger cocktail parties, hiring someone to bartend will be extremely helpful. The same person can help with cleanup afterwards! Help doesn't always have to be professional, you can hire your teenage nephews or cousins to be servers. Just have them wear their black pants, white shirts, and maybe bow ties!
Six Days Before the Party
Now that you know who is attending, select music that will set the right mood for the party, and maybe just get all the guests moving to the music!
TIP: I have a small party just for selecting my music. Invite one or two close friends over. Take turns nominating songs, go through them together over pizza or light dinner, and the songs that get majority vote in this small party will make the list for the real party! Count each song to last 3 minutes and calculate the number of songs you will need. For example, if your party is going to be 4 hours, you will need at least 80 songs. This is the perfect way to get yourself and your close friends excited for the event to come! And trust me this little party is a lot of fun!
Five Days Before the Party
Do a thorough cleanup of the whole house. Yes, including all the bedrooms. Sometimes you might want to showcase something you just bought in your closet, or kids may play hide and seek under your bed. Plus, you never want to block your guests from entering a room! You are not Bluebeard. Your house should be sparkling clean for the party. Do a main surface dusting one more time the day before. But get all other cleaning out of the way. After the house is cleaned, you can now start designing the style and decor of your event.
TIP: Sorry, there's no shortcut on cleaning. The only tip may be to hire someone if you don't have enough time!
Four Days Before the Party
Decide on the service style of your party and which rooms of the house to be used. Is it going to be a more formal RESTAURANT STYLE SERVICE, a more casual FAMILY STYLE SERVICE, a BUFFET SERVICE, or a COCKTAIL PARTY? After you have decided on the service style, you will have a better idea which rooms will be used for what, and how to move your furnitures around. (Now is a good time to decide if you will need catering or rental.)
Now that the service style has been decided, choose your dinnerware, glassware, flatware, and serving pieces. Have them washed and shined, and set them aside for the party. If you don't have everything, consider renting or borrowing from family or friends. Mothers have proven to be very resourceful in this department!
TIP: Mix and match your dinnerware! It creates a fun layering on the table.
Decide whether you will have the party catered. If you are cooking yourself, start thinking about your menu!
Three Days Before the Party
Two Days Before the Party
One Day Before the Party
Shop for everything you need on the menu. Don't forget your shopping list!
Wash, cut, and marinate everything and organize them by the dish in the refrigerator.
Give all the main surfaces in the house a good dusting one more time, make sure all the bathrooms have clean hand towels , scented candles or diffusers, and are sparkling clean.
The Day of the Party
"After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one's relatives."