TIPS ON HOW TO PREPARE FOR A STRESS-FREE HOLIDAY PARTY

Once again, it’s that time of the year. Believe it or not, it’s the holiday season. It makes you wonder where time has elapsed. Before you know it, we will be decorating and carving that bird for Thanksgiving. Already the stores are laden with toys under the Christmas trees and the Hanukkah decorations are not far away. It seems like all the holidays are pooled into one.

And, when this time of the year arrives, many will throw a party of two for their loved ones. However, without proper planning and preparation, those involved can become rather stressed. But, there’s no need to be frazzled. With a little planning and prepping ahead, you can come out smelling like roses. Some of the tips to consider and incorporate are:

1.  Casual or formal event – Before hand, it’s vital that you determine whether it will be a laid-back casual event or a formal one.

2. Number of guests – It’s very important to establish beforehand the number of guests who will be attending your event. Use e-vite, direct texting/messaging to send out invitations. However, do bear in mind that some of your guests may not be tech-savvy, therefore, it’s very important to use the traditional/personal way via phone call.

3. Seated or Buffet – One good rule of thumb to employ is to have a buffet affair if the number exceeds twelve (12). And if that’s the case, perhaps you should consider ordering extra chairs, tables, table linens and cutlery.

If it’s a seated affair with under twelve guests, try to decorate with a low enough center piece so that guest will be able to see each other across the table and interact.

4. Budget – Once you have made a decision of the type of party and a head count, it’s very imperative that you establish and adhere to a budget. A budget will aid you in tracking expenses so you’re less likely to overspend.

5. Plan menu – Although it’s the festive season, keep it simple. This is not the time to be presenting a new dish to your guests. If you intend to do so, make sure to test days in advance in order to take out the ‘kinks’.  Serve fish, poultry, meat and vegetables along with side dishes.

6. Cooking/prepping of meals – It’s wonderful if you’ve money in the budget to hire a professional chef. However, if you are responsible to prepare and cook meals, bear in mind that you can lighten the load by doing some of the dishes in advance. A stew or roast tastes even more mouth-watering a day or two later. Marinade meats overnight or a day/two before the day of event. Cakes and pies can be baked days in advance.

Bear in mind that the event is one for great joy and fun. Therefore, you need to reserve time and energy to mingle with loved-ones and other guests.

7. Drinks – Serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Keep a few appetizers (hors d’oeuvres) in close proximity to drinks to provide a balance. Nuts and chips/dips are fairly inexpensive.

8. Delegate – Remember that one of the characteristics of a good host is to ask for aid. Request assistance from competent individuals. For example, if a loved-one has a good ear for different genres of music, forego a paid DJ and have him/her do the honors. Or, Instead of hiring a bartender, be cost-effective and smart by asking a loved-one who is familiar with wines and mixing drinks.

9. Declutter and clean venue – Before the event, make sure to rearrange and move small and precious furniture items out of arms way. Reserve a few dollars in the budget to hire a professional cleaner before and after the event.

10. Photography – Do capture the precious moments. Hire a professional for a few hours in order to document the event in photos. Or, designate a reliable family member or friend who is competent in that area.

11. Childcare – Children are precious; however, they can get in the way. Perhaps, you could hire a baby sitter for those guests who have kids. The sitter will keep them entertained and safe in a designated area.

12. After event – Make sure to send out thank-you notes to guests for attending via social media, email and the traditional way. A few photos included would be awesome and heartwarming.

Guys, holiday parties can be stressful. However, applying some of these tips and more can certainly alleviate a lot of hassle. You’ll be the ‘talk of the town.’

Happy Holidays!

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