The holidays provide us with a wonderful opportunity to entertain our family and friends, catch up on old times, and make new memories that we will cherish for years to come. Whether you plan on entertaining two or twenty-two guests, organization is key to a stress-free and successful gathering.
How many times do you think about having a few friends over, maybe your co-workers, or perhaps your neighbours? Sounds like a great idea. Then you start thinking about what to serve, how to decorate, do you have enough glasses, napkins, cutlery or plates, and so on. Chances are your thoughts go on overdrive and you become overwhelmed at the thought of getting everything done. So, you give up on your wonderful idea of hosting a holiday party. However, by being organized you can remove that burden of stress and enjoy planning and entertaining in true holiday style.
We’ve compiled a list for you to use as a guideline to help you start planning your holiday entertaining. By following our suggestions you will be organized, prepared, and ready to party with your special guests. The earlier you start planning your party, the more time you have to prepare.
One Month Prior
As soon as possible choose the date, time, and theme of the party.
Rent tablecloths, stemware, cutlery, plates, hot plates, ice bucket, serving platters, etc. if needed.
Reserve caterer, bartender, food servers, or house cleaners. The sooner you contact these service providers, the better. Good caterers often require at least two months notice.
Create your guest list and send the invitations. Make sure all pertinent information is included in the invitation, including RSVP date and contact info. You should invite your guests 3 - 4 weeks before the event, but don’t worry. Last minute get-togethers without much lead time can also be fun and enjoyable. It’s your guests and the enjoyable time they have that truly matters.
Three Weeks Prior
Choose the menu.
Make a list of ingredients you need to buy. Pick up any non-perishable items.
Buy paper plates or napkins that you require. Keep in mind the theme of your party. Don’t forget cocktail napkins and plates.
Prepare any food items that can be prepared now and frozen for later use.
Two Weeks Prior
If you’re having a sit down dinner, set the table exactly as you would on the day of the party. If you plan on using real floral arrangements, use a plate or platter approximately the same size to give you an idea of spacing. Decide on linens you will use.
Purchase all beverages – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Call guests who have not yet RSVP’d.
Call caterer and service providers to confirm details.
One Week Prior
Clean your house. Not a surface clean, but a deep cleaning of your home. Clean up the clutter and put away any unnecessary items.
Run a rag or duster in corners/ceilings to eliminate any cobwebs.
Clean your fridge and microwave.
Start decorating the rooms where the party is taking place.
Purchase candles if required. Make sure you have a lighter to light them. Lightly scented candles are acceptable other than in the dining room where only unscented candles should be used.
Review food, beverage, and decoration needs. Double check your shopping list and amend as necessary.
Two Days Prior
Complete your decorating.
Spot clean house.
Declutter the entryway for your guests.
Make sure adequate paper products are in washrooms.
Place any frozen foods in the refrigerator to defrost. i.e. turkey
One Day Prior
Iron cloth tablecloth and napkins.
Wash dishes, serving pieces, and glasses.
Polish any silver that you are using.
Prepare any food that can be refrigerated overnight. Fruit trays, veggie trays, etc.
Purchase all perishable food items.
Pick up ice if you have room to store it.
Pick up floral arrangements.
Day Of Party
Set the table and bar area.
Approximately 4 hours beforehand, chill sparkling and white wines.
If you didn’t get ice yesterday, buy it today.
Finish food preparations.
Ensure guest washrooms are spotless with clean towels. If using disposable guests towels, ensure waste basket is in plain sight.
Close shower door or pull curtain closed.
Wipe down kitchen counters, sink, appliances, etc.
Make sure upholstery is free from pet hair and any crumbs.
Ensure walkway and steps are snow and ice free.
Assign area for coats and ensure that area is presentable.
Thirty minutes before guests are expected, light candles and turn on porch light.
We hope these tips give you the confidence you need to move forward with your holiday entertaining plans. If you are still overwhelmed, give us a call. With a little organization and planning, your great idea for a holiday party will become a wonderful reality.
Happy Holiday Entertaining!
Check out our Pinterest Page for hundreds of creative and inspirational organizing ideas – especially our Seasonal Holiday Storage board!
As always, we'd love to help organize your chaos. We offer complimentary 30-minute consultations in your home, and can create a plan to tackle any sized space! Contact us now to get started!