Tips for Effortless Planning and Execution for Holiday Parties

By Brittany Cotton

The winter holiday season can be one of the most joyful times of year, but it also tends to be the most stressful time. If you’re hoping to celebrate the season with your inner circle this December, the following ideas can help you effortlessly plan the perfect holiday party:


Envision the Theme and Dress Code for Your Holiday Party

Before you select and send out party invitations, decide whether you want your party to have a theme. Should guests wear their finest dressy apparel, or do you want them to show up in the tackiest Christmas sweaters they can find? If you have a dress code in mind, give your guests some guidance on the theme and your expectations when you issue the party invitations.


Planning the Perfect Party Entertainment

Consider whether there will be structured activities or entertainment at your party. Perhaps you’d like to have a gift exchange be part of the entertainment. Maybe your guests would enjoy playing card games or charades. Karaoke featuring Christmas carols could also be amusing.


Decorating for Your Holiday Party

If you’re hosting your party at home, the party décor will be up to you to implement. Your décor could include traditional holiday motifs such as a nativity scene, mistletoe, poinsettias, candy canes and bells, but it doesn’t have to. You could utilize non-traditional décor if you prefer. It could be fun to put up a totally bare Christmas tree and invite your friends and family to help you decorate it during the party.


Also give some thought to whether your home exterior needs enhancing for the party. Perhaps you’d like to add outdoor Christmas lights or festive outdoor holiday bows to make your home’s entrance look suitably welcoming.


Keeping Things Jolly and Stress-Free as You Prepare to Welcome Your Holiday Guests

Keep in mind that you don’t have to take on all the party preparation by yourself. You could hire a cleaning service to clean up before or after your party. Hiring caterers to prepare some or all of the food could make the event far less stressful.


If you’d rather tackle all the cooking and serving on your own, it’s fine to limit the menu and simplify the food preparation to the greatest extent possible. You don’t have to cook and serve a complete meal; you could design the menu around snack foods that are easy to prepare and serve. Hosting a potluck meal is another possibility; this would have all your guests sharing the work of preparing and serving a variety of delicious dishes. With a potluck meal, you could also be assured that everyone will have party food they really love.


If you’ll be serving alcoholic beverages, consider making a giant bowl of spiked party punch rather than trying to play bartender for the duration of the event.


It’s okay to enlist help from friends or family members when organizing and planning your party. Delegate some of the work and also give your helpers a say in the planning. Make checklists and copy them for everyone to ensure your fellow party planners stay on track. Prioritize the things that are most important to you, and don’t waste energy worrying about the non-essentials.


These are the most important stress-free party planning basics to keep in mind as the holiday season approaches. Happy holidays to you and yours!

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