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Throwing a holiday party doesn't have to be stressful! I love hosting friends and family for holiday gatherings, especially Christmas Eve Parties. If you've never had the pleasure of hosting your holiday party, I'd like to share a few tips today that will help you throw a wonderful party that won't break the bank or your sanity.
The two things that stress most party planners out is food and decor. These are of course essential parts of any great party, but they don't have to overwhelm you.
Take The Stress Out Of Holiday Parties:
When it comes to planning your party, you need to consider how much food you'd like to prepare. Do you plan to serve a meal, have others contribute food, or would you like to keep it as simple as possible with finger foods or desserts? When you know how much time you can commit to the menu, you can choose a time that works well with those foods. I love making sweet treats or finger foods because they are easy to make, and they usually look amazing. If I plan an event where I want to serve sweet treats, I choose a time after dinner, but I try to avoid bedtime if children are in attendance. I have found that 6:30 - 7 pm is usually the perfect time for my parties.
Once you know when you will have your party and how much food is involved you can write out a menu, grocery list, and a cooking plan. Most desserts can be prepared a day or two before, along with sides that refrigerate well and taste great when reheated. I always make food in the days leading up to the party.
Tip: If you are providing all of the food for your party, go easy on yourself. You don't have to make everything or anything that matter from scratch to be the hostess with the mostess. A little effort on your part can go a long way, so take shortcuts anywhere you can. Cake mixes and cookie dough shouldn't make you feel lazy; they should make you feel smart! I purchased premade cookie mixes and whoopie pies from Big Lots for my party and didn't feel one bit of guilt! Oh, and everyone LOVED them!
If you choose to go with a sweet treat holiday gathering, I have included some of my favorite recipes for you.
Hosting a healthy low-carb party? Try these Keto Low Carb Cookies!
Holiday Party Decor:
Now that you have a plan of action for the food, it's time to think about decor. Chances are good your home is pretty well decorated by the time you host a holiday party. That's a great thing because it means you have little work left to do. I like to choose one room to "host" the party in. When choosing a party room consider where your guests are most likely to spend the majority of their time. My dining room seems to be the most popular place in my home. The children usually gather together on the couch watching Christmas movies while the adults hang out talking in the living room and the kitchen. For this reason, I choose to decorate my dining room. The rest of my house is decorated as well, but I put more time into the dining room.
For Christmas parties, I tend to shy away from disposable decor like table clothes and centerpieces and opt for decor that I can incorporate in other areas of my home after the party has ended. This year I purchased a lot of new holiday decor because we changed our Christmas theme after 12 years of the same old stuff. When the kids were younger, we decorated with a lot of character decor, but this year I fell in love with the rustic look of all things Woodland inspired from Big Lots! I'm not much of a country girl, but I found myself asking my mom for a burlap wreath and a beautiful distressed wooden church to my cart. As I was shopping for new decor, I considered what items I would like to use in my dining room and where I could use them after the party was over.
When shopping for decor try to choose a theme and a store that offers a large variety of products that fit your style and budget. I have found that by shopping for decor at only one store I am less likely to overspend. When I shop multiple stores, I don't feel like I'm spending as much because it's a little here, and a little there. The next thing you know I've added up the receipts and gone over budget by $100. It's also nice to shop one store because everything within that theme matches well and you don't have to worry about returning something because it doesn't fit your party's style... or anything else in your Christmas collection.
Tip: When you get home, do a quick dry run. Pull out your new decor and start decorating your room just to get an idea of how it will look and what else you may need to complete the look. Then you can dive into your current collection and see if you have anything else you would like to add. If you already own an extensive collection of decor, you could do this in reverse and start with what you have and purchase what you need to complete the look.
I am very OCD about party planning, and I like to accomplish one step at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. First I shopped Big Lots to get all of my decorations and then I made a second trip to get my food. Of course if you prefer to do it all at once, that will work too! 😉
Big Lots is my go-to store because of their Pillar of Value! They have great quality brands that last longer than one season. Brands that I know and love (like Andes, Bobs Red Mills, and Kraft) to name a few. Their decor is trendy without being spendy, and they offer the best value. You really can't beat that!
If you need theme ideas and party supplies that meet your high-quality standards at a great value, be sure to stop by Big Lots! They have everything you need to take the stress out of holiday parties!