Kick Up Your Party Heels After our last guests left on Thanksgiving night, the hubster and I looked at each other with huge smiles. We had hosted our first Thanksgiving. The turkey was not burnt. People stayed well into the evening. Folks gladly took some leftovers for the road. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We had that – and a lot more – for which to be thankful.

Although Thanksgiving is over, there are still plenty of holiday parties for which to prepare. If you’re hosting a shin-dig this year, check out this guide for stress-free holiday entertaining. When organized into small tasks, hosting a party can be quite simple. Let’s start with the basics:

Look and Feel

Take time to identify your party theme or atmosphere. As relevant decor or food ideas come to mind, jot ’em down. Music, candles, and tasteful decor can work wonders for establishing ambiance. Consider whether the party is a formal or informal event? Sit-down? Stand-up? Casual? Adult-only? Kid-friendly? Will there be games or a “program” of any sort? Or is it simply a chat-eat-drink event? The number of revelers, and the guests themselves, will have an impact on the party’s overall atmosphere.

Once you’ve established your theme, menu, and invitation list, invite your guests using whichever method you deem most appropriate: printed invitation, evite, email, telephone call, carrier pigeon, etc. Then it’s time to create your master grocery list using your menu as your guide. (Word to the wise: recipes are your friends). Next, identify what decorations, if any, you need to purchase and add them to your shopping list.

Party Week To Do’s:

A Week Before Your Special Event

  • Go shopping for all party-related decorations, foods, and beverages. Your master grocery list will save you hours of time. Trust me.
  • Ensure that you have enough chairs, tables, napkins, dishes, cups, utensils, etc. for your party-goers. If you don’t, contact your local rental center or a few party guests for some assistance.
  • Contact neighbors who aren’t invited to the party to let them know there may be a few extra cars on the street during your gathering. Let them know what time you’ll be sure the party ends.

1-3 Days Ahead of Time

  • Clean your house
  • Decorate for the party
  • Transform your home into party central (set the dining table, move furniture, arrange folding chairs, put the hubster’s photography equipment in a closet, etc.)
  • If appropriate: write place cards, fold utensil-filled napkins for the buffet line, select your music, arrange buffet serving dishes, etc.
  • Cook anything that can be cooked ahead of time.
  • Relax. Get a manicure, take a bubble bath, watch your favorite episode of The Office…whatever strikes your fancy.

The day of your party, all you’ll need to do is put out your food and beverages, finish any last minute cooking or decorations, and get decked out in your party heels. Oh yeah, welcome your guests and have fun!

*Photo by Jonathan Eggers

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