Holiday Parties, are you throwing or going?
Who doesn’t love a great holiday party? We’ve probably all been to one that could have been better, and then we’ve been to the one we wish we were invited to yearly, because it’s that much fun! I have one that I look forward to every year, and when I can’t make it, I’m bummed. I thought it would be a great idea to share my quick guide to all things holiday parties related. First, we’ll cover throwing a party, then we’ll talk about going to the party… Happy reading.
If you’re throwing a holiday party, here are a few key points to help your party be a success & most of all FUN! You have picked a date, now what do you do? The first step is set a budget. What kind of party are you having? Formal with a sit-down meal or a cocktail party with hors d’oeuvres? Then you need to nail down your guest list.
Now it’s on to the invites! This is what sets the tone of your party. If you’re having a formal party, with a sit-down meal, your invites would look different than if you’re having a holiday cocktail party. You can mail them (what I prefer to send and receive) or you can use an electronic invitation. Be sure to include date, event time, and location. Most importantly include a way to RSVP, text or email are both great options. Don’t forget the RSVP by date. This doesn’t mean you won’t have late RSVPs, but it will help you with your grocery list or catering.
Mini Food Stations- It’s easier if you have multiple food stations, you will prevent long wait times or congestion around the food area. Plus, I may not want something that is on your menu and if you have stations, I can bypass that food completely.
Keep your Drink Station Separate- Food & drink is where everyone tends to gravitate, so by having your drinks be in a different area, you will help ease the congestion. You know you have people on your invite list that will hang out by the bar, we all know them and that’s totally ok. I may be one of them?
Table Favors- These are a fun way to tell your guests thank you. They should go with your décor and yet, they don’t have to be expensive. Heck, they could be your decorations. You could have little organza bags with candy or a holiday cookie. You could even do a small ornament if you wanted. Then each year that you have a party, you have a new ornament that is given, and they have a keepsake.
Tried and True Recipes- This isn’t the time to go on to Pinterest and go berserk with recipes that you’ve never tried. Have you heard of Pinterest fails? You don’t want to be one. I recommend using recipes that you’ve made before, so you know they look and taste great. If you aren’t a great cook, there is nothing wrong with having it catered. Just make sure to decide this soon, to ensure that you can get your date and they fit your budget.
Plan to fail or fail to plan! This is something I live by in all aspects of life. I’ve learned the hard way about what happens when you fail to plan. All things can go wrong- catering could fall through, the weather, if your party is outdoors, what if you get sick? It’s much easier to plan for all things and be ready. Make a list of what you need to do and as you do them, check them off. Set dates for when items need to be completed. You don’t have to do it all in a week. Like my mom tells me, how does an ant eat an elephant? One bite at a time……remember that and apply it to your parties and all you do in life.
It’s a day or two before the party, this is the time to do a walkthrough of your set up. Go outside and come in as your guests would. Walk through your location and see if you need to change anything. Where are your food stations? Are they too close to the entrance? Where are your beverages, are they isolated from the party? Again, it’s your time to see & feel what your guests would feel & see when they come in. What does your house smell like? Is the lighting ok?
On the day of, don’t forget to put out some fresh flowers…… and add disposal paper towels & light a candle in your bathroom. No one wants to dry their hands with a wet hand towel.
Time to get yourself dressed for the occasion. Don’t forget to add light music in the background. Finally, put on lipstick & go enjoy your party.
Now if you’re going to a holiday party- here is my guide to be a great guest and how to receive an invite next year!
First and foremost, RSVP! If someone took the time to invite you to their party, please be courteous and respond, yes or no. You don’t have to give a reason, if you can’t make it, just simply let them know. If you respond with a no, and it ends up that you can attend, please RSVP again and tell them you’re coming. Don’t surprise the host.
One of the best ways to be sure to be invited back is to bring a hostess gift. This can be something extremely simple, like a package of cocktail napkins. Or a great bottle of wine. Just a simple thank you gift. They will remember who brought something and it will go along way.
Invited Guests DO NOT invite guests. Do I need to repeat this sentence? I cannot tell you how many times I have had to answer this question from guests. “Well so-so didn’t get invited and they asked me, so can I invite them?” Um NO. Do not do it…………. No matter how guilty you feel when they say, “oh well I wasn’t invited”…………… not your decision.
Dress for the occasion. Holiday parties are a great time to get dressed up and show off. Especially if you never go out! Find a babysitter for the kids or pets (pet parents count too). Get your hair done if you want, get your nails done, I always add false eyelashes (you can buy great ones at HEB, Ardell Brand, 111 are my go-to, you’re welcome). Don’t forget to snap a few photos. Most of all, have fun.
Once you’re home and you’ve rested from your incredibly fun holiday party, sit down and write a thank you note. It doesn’t have to be a long novel, just a quick thank you. Again, it’s a great way to earn a spot on the guest list for next year.
Now, time to plan my holiday party and my guest list………………. Hope to see you there……………..
Happy Holidays…………… Etiquette Junkie