How to host a stress-free pre-Christmas party … our top tips
December is party month, the time when we all let our hair down and enjoy catch-ups with friends, family and colleagues to celebrate all things festive and the end of another year. If the past couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that we should take advantage of these get-togethers when we can! And while going to parties is always heaps of fun, hosting a party can bring with it a certain amount of stress. There are things you can do that will help take the hassle and stress out of hosting. Here's our top 10 tips:
December is notoriously busy so invite people as early as possible. This will ensure that the people you want to attend have your party locked in before their calendar fills up.
2. Type of party
Cocktail party? Dinner party? Barbecue? Dance party? Deciding what sort of party you want to host will help you to plan what you need to buy, cook and how to decorate.
Once you’ve decided on the type of party, choose a theme – this doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact it can be as simple as a colour or a key ingredient, but choosing one thing as your theme will help you to create a cohesive party. Don’t worry about making everything fit your chosen theme but use it as a guide to tie the elements of your event together.
One of the biggest stress points in hosting a party is the cost. There’s no need to blow your budget, instead take stock of what you already have before you hit the shops. It’s likely that you can use things you already have at home to decorate - take advantage of summer blooms and foliage in the garden or borrow from friends and family. The same applies to party supplies – see what you have at home before you make any purchases. If you need extra glasses, crockery or cutlery and don’t want to spend too much, ask friends if they have things you can use.
5. Food and Drink
Once you have your RSVPs and know how many guests you are hosting, sit down and work out what food and drinks you will serve. Next create a shopping list so that when you go shopping you can focus on your list and only get the things you actually need.
6. Make a plan
Even if you’re having a casual backyard barbecue it will help you enormously if you have a plan for the day or night. While it doesn’t have to be precise down to the minute, it will help you to keep things on track if you have planned timings for things like when the main course and dessert will be served.
Arrange your home or yard to suit the type of party you are having. If it is a cocktail party clear furniture to make room for people to mingle and think about the placement of food. Spreading food across different locations will help people to move around, talk to others and avoid a bottleneck in one location. Also make sure that there are chairs available for people who don’t want to be on their feet all night.
There’s no point in having a party if you don’t enjoy yourself and getting stuck playing bartender is no fun. Instead, organise self-serve drinks. Prepare pre-mixed cocktails or punch, and have beer, wine, alcohol-free options, and glasses set-up so that people can pour their own drinks. These self-serve options will free you up to be able to relax and spend time with your guests.
Music creates a party feel and ambience so choose music to suit the type and theme of your party. Creating a playlist in advance will mean you don’t have to worry about choosing music at the party; all you need to do is hit “play”.
10. Accept and ask for help
Just because you’re hosting doesn’t mean that you have to do it all. If friends offer to help, accept and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Draw on the strengths of your friends to help make your party great. If you have a friend who is a great cook, ask them to bring a dish or to share a recipe. Got a friend who is a whiz at decorating? Ask them to help you theme your party. Ask a friend to babysit so you can shop for the party child-free. Leaning on your friends will make hosting a party much easier than trying to do everything on your own.