Holiday Party Planning Checklist

Check it once, check it twice! If you're planning your holiday party or get together, here is a holiday party checklist that will help you cover all the bases. There are a lot of details when you start to think about how to plan a holiday party, and a checklist can help keep track of everything.
Get organized with these helpful pointers:
  • Guest List: Who do you plan to invite? If you are working with a limited budget, it often helps to set a manageable number of party guests before choosing exactly who you'll ask to join you. Pick a number of guests for whom you feel confident you'll be able to provide food, drink, and holiday cheer, and then work on putting together a final list of names.
  • Invitations: Next on the holiday party planning checklist—the invitations. Holiday party invitations set the tone for your event from the start so it’s important to take some time choosing the right one to fit your occasion. This will also include picking a date, time, party venue, and theme.
  • Food and Drink: Whether you’re going to be having a full dinner or just serving hor d’eouvres, plan accordingly. Are there any food allergies you'll have to account for? Having this information in mind ahead of time will help you make sure that your holiday party has food for all your guests and that no one goes to bed hungry. Also think about serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to give your guests options.
  • Party Atmosphere: Your checklist for planning a holiday party should also include thinking about the party atmosphere. This applies to music, decoration, place settings—the works. Do you have a mixed crowd attending your holiday party this year or is everyone celebrating Christmas? Being sensitive to your guests' religious affiliations will keep you from offending them. If you’re not terribly familiar with a specific guest's religious background, make him or her feel special by asking that he or she bring along a favorite type of holiday music or traditional dish that you can share at the party to give everyone a taste of something new and different.
  • Party Activities: From building gingerbread houses to having an ugly sweater fashion show, there are many ways to give your guests the chance to get to know one another or keep the kids entertained. There is sure to be fun and laughter all around and you might even start a brand new holiday tradition!
  • Party Favors: A great rule of thumb if you plan to give party favors to your holiday party guests is to stick with something personal. This could be as simple as buying each guest a funny reminder of an inside joke, having a desk-sized calendar made with various photos of your group of friends together, or making a small donation to a local charity that your friends/family are familiar with. Homemade goods from your kitchen are also great treats to send home with guests. The important thing here is to remember that party favors give guests a lasting impression of the party. The more thoughtful the favor, the more positive the memory.
Whatever kind of party you plan to throw this holiday season, have fun in the planning. Remember, this is a time about being with friends and family. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed by the stressful "cookies or brownies" details, but focus instead on creating an atmosphere of joy and celebration.
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