Hosting a grand Christmas party can be a daunting task for first-timers. Planning, organizing, and eventually even the execution can be difficult for first-time hosts, if not properly thought out in advance. Having a step by step checklist helps to make these celebrations easy though. Here’s our ultimate Christmas party guide cum checklist to help you cruise through the pre-party planning process.
Pick a party date in advance so you have enough time to plan the party in detail. Most people make holiday plans with family and friends for the long holidays in December, so parties nearer to Christmas eve may not get attended well. As first time hosts, it is best to pick a good date slightly before Christmas.
The biggest pitfall risk with first-time party hosts is that most tend to get well over their planned budgets in their excitement to throw ‘the best party ever’. But successful parties need not be expensive. The best way to avoid this is to set aside a budget for your party. This makes it easier to then divide the general budget into smaller amounts reserved for decorations, venue, gifts, food, etc.
Depending on how big or small you want to go, make a prospective guest list in advance. This acts as the base for all the following steps. The size of your party will decide the venue and your food and beverage choices. As first-timers, try hosting a smaller group of close friends and family until you get the hang of things.
The party venue could be just about anywhere. It could be your backyard, the common party area of your complex, a rented event space or even a hotel. It depends on the size of your party and also on how formal or informal you require the setting to be. Casual Christmas get-togethers can be held at home where the atmosphere is cosy, informal and friendly. Book a party venue or a hotel if you are looking to host an office Christmas party.
If you want to have the party in a particular theme, now is the time to think it through. You can Google for trendy themes or go with one that screams traditional Christmas. Either way, having a theme thought out makes things easier for you when you are looking at decorations, food and drinks.
Now that you have your date and venue finalized, you are ready to send out invitations. Ensure that your invitations are in line with your selected theme and that you mention the theme explicitly on them. Follow your guest list so you don’t miss anyone out. You can make follow up calls or send reminder emails as the day gets closer.
Let’s face it, eggnog, alcoholic spirits and wines are expensive. So if you want to hold a Christmas party on a budget, explore alternatives such as having a cocoa bar. If this is not an avenue you are looking to skimp on, plan your drink list in advance and stock up. Plan your food menu in detail, from appetizers to desserts, too. If you are cooking at home, make your purchases in advance. If you have booked a hotel or another venue, ask for a tasting to ensure that you make the best choices.
Christmas is synonymous with gifts. If you choose to give gifts, pick them up in advance. Label them well so they go to the intended receiver and there are no mishaps on the day of the party. If you decide to give gifts, ensure that you give them to all attendees. Keep one or two extra, for unexpected drop-ins.
Whether you have chosen a theme or not, Christmas parties are not the same without Christmas trees. Set up your tree and decorate it on location, well in advance. Test the lights. If you are going on a particular theme, purchase theme based decorations in advance. Don’t forget to get your outfits in order as well.
The best of plans fail if not executed right. Whether you are having your party at home or at an external venue, set things up at least a few hours before time. This way, any last-minute hiccups can be handled well before the first guests stream in. Expect to encounter a few issues on ‘D day’, the bartender may be late, the tableware may not be the right colour or the decorations may seem off. Don’t panic, you have enough time to either fix them or think of alternative solutions.