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The Ultimate Holiday Party Planning Checklist

by Claudia, posted to Weddings & Events

Holidays are fun days to celebrate with family and friends. Holiday party planning can be stressful so I have put together ways to make your party planning a complete success. Throw that Thanksgiving or Christmas party you've always wanted to do or help plan out your annual office party. All the tip... More »


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Pick a Date and Time

Choose an appropriate date and time that will give your guests enough time to respond. Avoid long weekends or dates closer to major holidays. Many people travel around that time which may decrease your total guest count.

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Pick a Budget

Parties can be costly and more often than not you will spend more than expected. It's best to create your budget in the beginning of party planning to avoid any financial stress.

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Pick a theme

hwtm.com

Decide on theme if you want one. Make, buy or borrow any decorations...more

Holiday themed parties can be very fun. Pick anything from an Ugly Sweater party to a Winter Wonderland. Have fun with it and make sure to note that in your invitations.

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Make a List of Attendees

For a large cocktail party, invite 20 percent more people than you can...more

When making your list of attendees decide if you want to make this a more intimate party or a larger scaled party. The bigger you go the hard it gets to be one on one with your guests.

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Send out an invitation

skinnyscoop.com

Check out Larissa's list on Holiday Cards and Invitations. As a former Evite employee, she is well versed in the online invite and greeting space. I've used paperless post for the past 2 years and have been very with their service.

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Create a Menu

Assemble the recipes (choose only those that can be prepared in...more

Be sure to pick nice looking food. Avoid casseroles which looks great when you put them out but look like a mess at the end. Individual foods are easier. If you plan on ordering food go to the restaurant 3 weeks in advance to discuss your order.

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Pick a Cocktail

skinnyscoop.com

Pick a drink or two: Don’t be the bartender. It’s too messy! Serve...more

Be sure to check out this list of "Skinny Cocktails brought to you by the SkinnyScoop team. 154 Calories for a Hot Toddy..I think so!!

Krista: Yes! These Christmas Martinis all look amazing (and so festive) too!: http://bit.ly/utoSkK

Claudia: They sure do, love this new list!

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Choose a Party Favor

If you are feeling generous this year choose a nice party favor that...more

There are some great finds at ikea and marshalls for inexpensive party favors but if you like to put a more personal touch feel free to make a batch of your favorite holiday treat and wrap them up in a clear bag. Add ribbon and you are good to go!

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Hire Extra Help

If you plan on throwing a larger party plan on hiring some extra help. What's the fun in a party when you can't even enjoy it. Hiring that extra help will relieve some stress in the preparation of the food and decorations along with cleanup.

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Make a Playlist

Don't go scrambling for playlists minutes before your guests arrive to your party. Take the time to create a playlist that goes hand in hand with your theme or pick songs that both you and your guests will enjoy.

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Holiday Stations on Pandora

blog.pandora.com

Well for those who would like a bit of holiday music to listen to...more

Suggested by Larissa

Don't have time to make a playlist, choose from these Pandora Holiday Stations to get the party started.

Claudia: Great idea! Thanks!

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Buy Compostable Partyware

branchhome.com

Order a party kit that helps makes your clean up process easier while...more

Be green and get your guests to pitch in on the effort. Be sure to have appropriate labeled trash cans so that there is no confusion.

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Stock up your Powder Room

Make sure you have enough soap, hand creme and toilet paper in your powder room. It's also a good idea to provide some sort of fragrant room spray.

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Check the medicine cabinet

Suggested by Larissa

Remove any personal items you wouldn’t want guests to see.

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Stock up on Hangers

ikea.com

If you plan on using your "coat closet" be sure to stock up on hangers. Whats the use of a coat closet without hangers? Heck go to the nearest Ikea, Big lots or Walmart. You'll be sure to find some inexpensive yet decent looking hangers.

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Clean your House

Whether you clean your house yourself or have someone come once a...more

It's always a good idea to get a deep cleaning in before your party. You wouldn't want your guests to feel uncomfortable in a messy or dirty place.

Larissa: Hahah, you finally got this image in! AWESOME list - love how you integrated our other holiday lists.

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Notify your Neighbors

It's always a great idea to notify your neighbors if you plan on having a large party. This will avoid any issues and also give them time to make any arrangements if necessary (due to parking and noise).

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Day of Party: Last Minute Food Prep and Chill Drinks

Chill wine, set up the bar (slice lemons) and start cooking! Set aside...more

I suggest filling your house with the scent of apple cider by boiling it on low-med heat all morning. It's a pleasant smell when your guests arrive to your party.

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Day Before: Decorations, Flowers, Tables

The day before the party go and pickup any decorations you will be...more

It's best to arrange as much as you can beforehand. Setup your tables and decorations the day before so that all you have to worry about the next day is heating up the food and arranging it on the table.

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