Top holiday party planning tips to make you look like a pro


Top Christmas and Holiday Party Planning Tips | Pretty Printables Ink

Halloween is over and now it’s time to start thinking about hosting your Christmas party! I know it’s early, but let’s be real – Christmas tunes are on full blast in retail stores today, the garland is already strung across the mall’s rooftop rafters and Christmas displays adorn every shop window.

It’s time to start your Christmas party planning.

It’s never too early to start planning, as most people already have their Christmas party or holiday open house invitations starting to come in mid-November. So get ahead of the game, allow yourself enough times to get your invites out so as many guests as possible can attend, and get all your decor and supplies ordered before the holiday rush begins.

Are you ready? Here are our tips on how to host a Christmas party like a pro:

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Holiday Party Planning Tip #1: Make a {guest} list and check it twice

Start drafting your guest list at the beginning of November. For now, think of everyone from all aspects of your life that you would like to make an appearance at your party (you can cut down later or draft an “A” and a “B” list). Think of all the social circles in your life when thinking about who you want to invite: family; close friends; families from your kids’ extracurricular activities (sports, dance, gymnastics, preschool, etc.); church, volunteering; your kids’ friends’ parents; neighbours, clubs you’re involved with, etc. You get the picture.

Next, once your list is drafted, think of how many people you want to attend. Chances are you’ll be having the party in your house, so keep capacity in mind. If you’re going to have a casual open house-style affair, you can invite more people since guests will be dropping in at different times throughout the party and standing, mingling and milling about. If you’re hosting a dinner party, you obviously will have less room available, so adjust your guest list accordingly.

Finally, you may want to consider drafting an “A” list and a “B” list—the “A” list being who you would 100% without a doubt want to come, like your best friends and family, and your “B” list being more casual acquaintances. As your guests from group “A” start to respond and either accept or decline the invite, you can move onto the next in line on your “B” list. Keep in mind that, just like weddings, about 20% to 30% of the guests you invite won’t be able to come.

Holiday Party Planning Tip #2: Decide if you’re doing a theme

Flannel and frost red buffalo check invite
Our Flannel and Frost invitations are very popular for the 2018 winter holiday season

Decide up front whether you’re going to do a theme. Why should you choose a theme? It can tie everything together – your decor, the food, signature drinks you might be making, etc. Also, if you’re doing something fun, like a favourite things gift exchange or cookie exchange, you can tell your guests about it on the invitation and tie your theme into your invitation.

Some cute Christmas theme ideas include:

  • flannel and frost
  • toasty and tipsy
  • hot chocolate bar
  • cookie exchange
  • white elephant gift exchange
  • favourite things part

Which leads us to our next tip….

Holiday Party Planning Tip #3: Make a good first impression with an amazing invitation

2018 rustic Christmas and holiday party invitationsI’m going to be real with you here. People are busy, especially around Christmas. People also seem to put off committing to social functions until they rule out all other options (i.e., they wait to see what all comes in and commit to whatever appeals the most to them). So, make your party the must-attend event of the year by doing something special and ordering a custom Christmas party or holiday party invitation. We have a ton of amazing Christmas and holiday invitations in our shop this year, and we do all the customization for you. While we HIGHLY recommend printing and mailing invitations to really make your Christmas party appear special and unique (since most people only get Facebook or text invites these days), you can also attach or embed our invitations in an email to send out to guests as well.

While there are free options available on the Internet, we think your party will look much more special if you use a customized design by us that guests haven’t received for some other party before. It really sets the tone for your party and what guests can expect!

Check out all of our printable Christmas and holiday invitations!

Holiday Party Planning Tip #4: Prepare ahead of time

There are many things that you can check off your “to-do” list ahead of time so you’re not frantic the night before and day of your party. The more you can do in the weeks and days leading up to the party, the more you can relax and actually enjoy the party yourself.

Christmas behind the scenes
A few small but simple things can go a long way to make gets feel comfortable and at home

Holiday Party Planning Tip #5: Make some magic behind the scenes

Making your guests as comfortable and at home as possible to make sure they have the best time should be your end goal! There are a few simple things you can behind-the-scenes that will ensure guests have a comfortable stay while at your home for your Christmas party.

Read more tips to create a festive and cosy atmosphere for your guests…

Holiday Party Planning Tip #6: K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, sister!)

I think this one is the most important tip of all – keep it simple, sister! Don’t go all out on Chacuteriesnacks, dinner, beverages, etc. Plan your menu well in advance so you can think of easy yet impressive food to serve at your party. If you’re hosting an open house or more casual party, stick to smaller dishes like appetizers, dips, easy platters, etc. Have a good mix of cold and warm dishes to give some variety yet ensure you’re still able to mix and mingle with guests rather than spending the entire time in the kitchen. If you’re hosting a dinner party, stick to a basic menu of one appetizer or salad, a main entree with one or two complementary side dishes and a dessert. Don’t overthink it!

When planning your beverages, stick to the basics: rum, vodka, rye, whiskey, gin and some mix. Consider having one or two festive feature cocktails on top of this, but that’s it!

For some great holiday appetizer and drink ideas and recipes, check out our holiday party planning Pinterest board.

Holiday Party Planning Tip #7: Easy clean up with elegant disposable dishes

One thing that has changed about hosting parties in the last couple decades is the notion that disposable plates, cups and napkins are taboo.

That is definitely not the case anymore!

If you are hosting a more informal party, where there will be appetizers, small bites and beverages, do yourself a favour and forgo dishes, cutlery and glassware that you have to clean.

There are so many cute, festive options for disposable plates, cutlery and glassware for your holiday party. Many are recyclable, so you don’t have to feel guilty about throwing it away at the end of the night. And best of all, you’ll save yourself hours of clean-up time by using them!

Check out our favourite disposable dinnerware and glassware finds here…

Holiday party planning tip #8: Getting everyone in the holiday spirit with a great playlist

You know how sometimes you just feel in the Christmas spirit until you hear some Christmas songs playing on the radio?  Get your guests in a holiday mood with an awesome Christmas party playlist! There are two great options for this:

Option 1: Make your own playlist through Amazon Music, iTunes or Spotify

I personally have a bunch of songs that I always have to listen to at Christmas time (ummm, hello All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey). If you’re making your own playlist, make sure you have lots of songs that will:

    • Last for about three to four hours of continuous music
    • Feature a bunch of different artists
  • Have a mix of traditional Christmas songs and new ones

My best tip? If you haven’t already, sign up for an Amazon music account, iTunes account or Spotify Premium to download a ton of different songs from different artists. Both of these services offer a free 30-day trial, so if you don’t want to continue, you can cancel any time.

Option 2: Play a curated list from Amazon, iTunes or Spotify (or another streaming service)

If you don’t have the time or don’t want to put a ton of effort into curating the perfect playlist, we have great news…

There’s plenty of streaming services out there who have already done all the work for you! Services like Amazon Music, iTunes and Spotify craft many different kinds of holiday playlists throughout the season, so check out one of those streaming services to play the perfect holiday hit list.

Holiday party planning tip #9: Get the party (conversation) started

If you’re hosting a smaller, more intimate party or sit down Christmas dinner party and the guests don’t all know each other, consider putting mason jars filled with conversation starters around the table. Everyone can take turns drawing a slip and then guests can take turns answering. It’s a great way to get everyone talking and knowing one another!

We love these free dinner conversation starters by Living Lucurto or these Past. Present and Future questions by Table Topics.

We also highly recommend some great board games to get everyone in the spirit and having fun. These are our crowd favourites:

Holiday party planning tip #10: Manage your time wisely to enjoy the party

put your feet up
Being organized ahead of time allows you to put your feet up and enjoy the party!

One of the things we always hear from families and friends who hosted a big party is, “It was great, but I didn’t have time to enjoy it. I was just too busy all night!”

Well, that seems like the total opposite goal of what you had planned, doesn’t it?

Help keep your party “to-do’s” on track by pre-planning what dishes need to be put on the table when and make a timesheet for hot menu items. If you’re mostly serving appetizers and party hors d’oeuvres, put out two to three hot dishes at a time, and then set up reminders on your phone so you know when they’re all going in the oven. That way, you’re organized, on top of it and you’ll have time to mix and mingle with your guests.

Another tip is to try to plan as many non-cooking appetizers as possible. We have a ton of great ideas on our Pinterest board, but things like charcuterie boards, caprese skewers, cheese and crackers, etc. are all easy, popular dish ideas that everyone loves and can be prepared ahead of time.

Get more great holiday party appetizer, menu and drink ideas on our Pinterest board.

Happy Planning!

We hope you found our tips helpful and are excited to plan your Christmas party and holiday open house! If you enjoyed these tips, please share the images on this page to Pinterest to help others out, too.

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