Festive parties are supposed to be fun and a well-prepared host can have a good time.
If you want your Christmas party to run smoothly, arm yourself with this foolproof checklist.
A few weeks before the party
Set the date
Set the date of your party as soon as possible. Everyone is busy at the end of the year so you want to make sure you get in first with your invitation before your friends have said yes to another event.
Send out invites
You can send out invitations via email, social media, text or snail mail. Just choose whichever method is the most appropriate. Snail mail works best for fancier affairs but a social media invite is fine for a more casual get together.
Have an RSVP system. Whether it’s a spreadsheet or a group on Facebook, make sure you’re tracking who is coming and who isn’t.
Let your guests know what they can do
Guests are often happy to bring something, so just ask. This could include a salad, a dessert, a bottle of wine or even a board game.
If you don’t want your guests to bring anything, make that clear on the invitation.
Plan the menu
Figure out if you want to cook or have the event catered for and then plan your menu. Is the party going to have finger food? Is it a sit-down meal? All of this needs to be decided as early as possible so you have time to make plans before the big day.
Consider hiring help
If you’re hosting a big event you may need extra help. Ask around your friends to see if they know any teenagers who might need some extra cash. They’ll happily hand out appetisers and do the washing up.
Anyone serving alcohol must be of legal age, so leave the wine pouring to the grown ups.
You may need to book a few things like a babysitter, extra chairs, wine glasses or stereo speakers. Make sure you do this early as Christmas is a busy time of year and availability will be low on party items.
Think about decorations
It is Christmas after all – even a simple string of fairy lights can add a little Christmas cheer to your party.
This is a task that is often left for that last minute, meaning hosts are often scrambling around to get the music going while the first guests stand around in silence. Most music streaming services have existing playlists available for any occasion.
Make sure you know how to use your speakers with your smartphone to avoid last minute episodes trying to pair your devices via bluetooth.
Week of the party
Clean your house
Do all the major cleaning a few days before – bathroom, kitchen and areas that have become cluttered. It will take longer than you think.
Do a pre-shop and buy anything that will last a week – dips, chips, crackers, sweets and alcohol. The only things you should be buying at the last minute are perishables like fruit, vegetables and meat.
Shops can get really crowded around Christmas time so it’s best to get party shopping out of the way early to avoid a stressful situation.
Confirm your guest list
Call or text your invite list to remind them of your event. It is your guests’ responsibility to let you know of their attendance status, but Christmas time is very busy and some people might forget. Following up will save you over-catering.
It is your guests’ responsibility to let you know of their attendance status, but Christmas time is very busy and some people might forget. Following up will save you over-catering.
Charge items before the party
Any speakers, music players, outdoor lights and kids games should be charged and ready to go on the day.
On the day
Set up as early as possible. This includes arranging tables, chairs, drink stations and kids areas.
Also think about where guests can put their dirty plates and glasses or a table where they can place gifts.
Do last minute food prep
If you’re cooking, start early especially for things like curries and roasts that take a long time. Allow more time than necessary for everything to save yourself stress on the day.
Allow more time than necessary for everything to save yourself from stress on the day.
Send a helper out for last minute supplies
Avoid panic by expecting a last minute trip to the shops for things like ice, lemons and citronella candles. There’s always a few things you need to grab at the last minute so just prepare for it and have someone available to do this.
There’s always a few things you need to grab at the last minute, so just prepare for it and have someone available to do this.
Let your neighbours know you’re having a party
It’s common courtesy to let you neighbours know you’re having a party and if you’re on good terms with your neighbours, invite them in for a drink.
It’s a good way to keep them on side if you’re playing loud music.
Stick to the noise pollution laws in your suburb. You can find out what time you need to turn your music down by asking your local council.