One of the many highlights of the Christmas season is gathering together for end of year celebrations.
But it’s easy for the gloss to wear off when you’re the one charged with organising the event and it’s your home in which it is being staged.
Not only can the weight of expectation dim your enjoyment of the occasion, so too can a misjudged decision about the amount or selection of food and beverage offered or the amount of time you have to prepare.
The following tips may help minimise any stress in the days and weeks leading up to your event.
Decide on a date early
Planning your gathering too close to Christmas means you may be setting yourself up for early disappointment. Because many of your guests may be leaving town to visit family, try to hold the party at least five days out from Christmas Day so as not to intrude too much on your guests’ holiday plans.
Weekends are usually best as those in attendance won’t feel rushed to get there after a long day in the office and will also be able to enjoy a nice lie in the following day.
Ensure you give your guests as much notice as possible as well as including details relating to dress code (formal or casual), outline if it’s a family event or adults, and whether your event is bring your own drink, or fully catered.
To give or not to give
Now would be an appropriate time to decide whether you want people to exchange Christmas gifts at your gathering.
Whether it be a secret Santa-type affair where each person buys a gift to a certain value, or whether each guest will buy for a specific person, gift exchanges are a great way to add some excitement to your event.
If you don’t intend to have a gift exchange element to your gathering, be sure to make sure everyone gets the memo, as you don’t want anyone feeling awkward by thinking they have inadvertently forgotten to contribute.
Consider food options
When hosting a party in your apartment, villa or townhouse, which option will you choose regarding catering? Will you do the cooking, or organise a caterer to cook on the day or pre-purchase food and have it delivered?
Should you decide to make things easier and ask each guest to bring a plate, be sure to offer them direction as to what to bring to ensure you don’t end up with ten different salads but no protein to go with it.
Be sure to check any dietary restrictions will be catered for.
Water, wine and everything in between
As it’s traditionally a time of celebration, chances are there will be some guests who hope to have a drink or two at your event.
If you decide against asking people to bring their own beverage, it is part of your responsibilities as a good host to provide both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options for your guests.
The quickest and best way to do this is to provide wine and water options alongside your own holiday cocktail in a large bowl. Not only will this help keep costs down, it will also mean guests can help themselves when it comes to topping up their empty glass.
Cleanliness is important
The day before the party, cast your eye over your living, kitchen, bathroom and outdoor space to make sure everything is shipshape.
Start by cleaning all surfaces and storing anything of value away out of sight. Next, take a step back and make an accurate assessment as to how much room is available to entertain your guests.
If the room feels too cluttered or crowded, particularly in wake of any COVID-19 restrictions, start to move furniture into other rooms, making sure you have enough seating options and room for guests to mingle and walk around. Place decorations around to create a festive atmosphere or if you are expecting younger guests, set up a games area to keep them entertained.
Now that everything is ready, all you have left to do to prepare for your Christmas party is to welcome your guests into your home.
Take the time to enjoy hosting your party without sweating the small issues that others probably won’t even notice. Remember that every guest who accepted your invitation appreciates the effort you went through to put on this party, so sit back and enjoy it.