Hosting a Holiday Party – Tips for Success

Last year, I did a post about how I prep for my annual holiday party. This year, I thought I would share some more of my tips for putting on a holiday party!

Of course, every party starts with some form of invitation. Just like last year, I went all digital with my invitations using a combination of Evite and Facebook to get the word out. The great thing about these two options is that it does the RSVP counting for you! 

Be sure to send out your invitation about a month in advance. The holidays book up fast for most people with lots of parties, family get togethers and work functions filling up the weekends.

Another major piece to planning the party is deciding whether to include kids. Traditionally our parties have been kid free but, this year, we are embracing the fact that 99% of our friends have kids. Paying for a babysitter to visit friends, during such an already expensive time of year, just doesn’t sound great to a lot of couples {waving hand in the air}. 

Consider making the party kid friendly but hire a few local babysitters to keep an eye on the kids. It gives your friends more time to mingle while keeping the kids under control.


Now, everyone has RSVP’d to your fabulous online invitation. The next obvious thing is food! Food is one of the key ingredients to a great party so plan early and be sure to have lots of variety! Some favorites that make their way onto our menu every year: 

Pancetta Crisps with Goat Cheese and Pear 
Cranberry Chili Sauce Meatballs  
Cheese Straws 

We always try to make sure we add some new items too though such as 

Bacon Wrapped Potato Bites 
Gorgonzola and Honey Leek Tart
Salted Caramel Puddle Cookies
Try to keep things bite sized! You’ll have a lot less clean-up and it makes it easier on your guests to mingle and eat.

Once you set your menu, print out a copy of each recipe you’ll be using and put them in a folder/binder/whatever you choose. Use the recipes to create a master shopping list that stays in the folder too. 
Separate your shopping into “have” and “need” to account for items you typically keep in your pantry. Having it on the shopping list, though, will be reminder to be sure you actually have enough in your pantry prior to going shopping for supplies.

I always develop a prep schedule. It typically starts on the day I plan to shop for most of my ingredients and runs all the way to “go” time. 


It includes every major step of getting ready for the party and who is responsible for it {Mathlete is always very helpful when it comes to moving tables, getting ice, etc.} 
Put out all of your serving dishes a few days before and label them with little pieces of paper. This way, everything has a place to go once it is cooked AND you master your table layout in advance.

So, there you have it…the way I get ready for a our annual Christmas party. 

Do you host an annual party? Have any party planning tips to share?


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  1. Hosting a large holiday event is something I want to do, just depends on when we have a space large enough to do it. This is a great breakdown of your prep!

  2. WOW. This is an impressive list of hosting tips. You thought of everything. I loved your suggestion about keeping your recipes in a master folder. Seriously, you took a lot of the worry out of planning a party since you spelled everything out.

  3. Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great party planner! Thanks for featuring my gorgonzola tart. :)
    kate @framedcooks recently posted…The Teenager Turns 20…and a Fabulous Giveaway to Celebrate!My Profile

  5. These are great tips. I have a link party called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Blog Hop and would love to have you share this with everyone. It runs from Wednesday through midnight Sunday. Here is the link to the party.
    Debi @ Adorned From Above
    Debi @ Adorned From Above recently posted…Modge Podge Poinsettia PotsMy Profile