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This time of year brings many cherished traditions between family and friends. One of the most common is opening your home to guests for holiday celebrations. Sharing food and friendship together is wonderful, but preparing to host the celebration itself can be nerve-wracking—especially if it’s your first time hosting a holiday gathering! So, to help give you a holiday hosting confidence boost, we’ve rounded up all our favorite tips for throwing a great party. Read on!
Lists will be your best friend in the planning process. Pull together a guest list to help you figure out how many people will be attending. From there, you can plan out how seating will work. If you’re having a sit-down meal, you’ll need to make sure there are enough tables and chairs available for everyone to eat comfortably. Additionally, you should get a head start on your meal plan. From this, you can form a grocery list and gather additional needed supplies.
If your to-do list is intimidatingly long, break it down into categories like meal prep, cleaning and house prep.
Once your guest list is nailed down, it’s time to invite them over. Depending on how formal of an event you’re hosting, you may choose to do paper invitations or e-vites. If it’s a casual gathering you have every year, you can get away with a phone call or text confirming your usual guests will be attending. Making sure you get a final headcount of your guests at least a few days to a week in advance of the event is crucial for preparing food and seating arrangements.
Before you have people over, cleaning up your home is necessary—especially if you have the sort of relatives who will comment on it! If you’ve got a good cleaning schedule running, pre-party cleaning shouldn’t be too involved. If you have pets, check with guests who may have allergies and clean any fur up well in advance.
If you’re not a neat person, though, there’s no need to worry! You could hire a cleaning service to do most of the light cleaning duties and pick up anything on the floors or counters yourself. This takes at least half the cleaning load off your plate, though it will have a cost. It may be worth it to leave your home fresh and clean! If you don’t have the budget for a cleaning service, schedule a day to devote to cleaning up. Make a list of what needs to be cleaned to keep you honest on how much is left to do.
If you’re a big believer in holiday decorations, your home is likely already pretty much set. If you’re not much of a home decor person, though, you’ll need to go out and buy a few things to make your home feel welcoming and seasonal. A festive wreath on your front door is a good start!
Whatever you choose to decorate with, make sure it’s not in the way of your guests. Keep walkways clear. You could even use food or dessert displays as part of the decorations if you’re short on space! A simple plate of iced cookies in holiday colors adds charm all on its own.
With a finalized guest list, you’ll have the numbers to know how much food to make. Prepare like you’re going to have at least two or three more guests than you know will be attending. You never know how hungry some guests may be, and it’s far better to send people home with leftovers than to run out of food before everyone has had a plate.
If you need help, ask for it. Getting overwhelmed won’t help anyone, and most likely one or more of your guests will be happy to pitch in on making a dish or two. Know someone with a knack for decorating? They may be able to help make your home look party-perfect in exchange for a free meal or covering potential expenses. Your guests are there to have a good time, so they’ll be glad to help make the good time happen!
You’ll likely have some guests eager to pay back your kindness in hosting. Take them up on it by having them help you clean up after eating! Dividing the cleaning duties makes it easy to keep your home in order and not leave a huge mess for you to clean up alone after the fact.
Most importantly, make sure you enjoy the gathering yourself! Give yourself grace and plenty of opportunities to socialize, enjoy the food and take part in holiday festivities. Your holiday party is meant for you to enjoy, too. Keep that in mind and try not to stress yourself too much.
Once you’ve hosted a great holiday gathering, we’re happy to help kit your home out for next year with new replacement doors, windows or vinyl siding. These help keep your home warm and comfortable for guests, leaving you to enjoy time together with loved ones. Reach out today to learn more with a free estimate.