The holiday season is a fun and busy time of year that’s full of events and parties. If you’re thinking of hosting your own holiday party this year, you may be unsure where to start with your planning. To help you put together a wonderful and memorable holiday party, here are some holiday entertaining tips from eleven of the top celebrities, interior designers, party planners and chefs.
1 Week Before the Event
Begin Planning your Décor and Music a Week Before the Party
To have everything ready for your party with plenty of time to spare, celebrity stylist Nate Berkus recommends choosing your decorations a week before the party. Don’t worry about finding pieces that match perfectly—instead, look for pieces that coordinate well together. And don’t be afraid to put together an eccentric mix of décor that fits your unique style.
According to actress Gwyneth Paltrow, the week before the party is also the perfect time to make a playlist for your party. Music is important for setting a festive tone. By creating a playlist early, you’ll be able to focus on choosing music that will create the mood you’re looking for at your holiday party.
2-3 Days Prior to the Event
Assign Seats and Purchase Florals a Few Days Before the Party
About two to three days before your party, create a seating arrangement for your guests. When creating a seating chart, TV personality Lauren Conrad recommends thinking about which of your guests have similar interests in common. Try and seat these guests together—you may be able to create a new friendship!
Chef and author Sandra Lee also suggests purchasing floral décor a few days before your party. Fresh flowers will add a pop of color to your party, and they’ll provide a lovely fragrance. Add florals to your decor by attaching flowers to garlands and Christmas trees.
The Night Before the Event
Prepare the Night Before your Party
To avoid feeling rushed on the day of your party, do most of your decorating the night before. For a unique table centerpiece, celebrity chef Ina Garten suggests creating several deconstructed floral bouquets. To make these, take a few small vases, and place one type of flower in each vase. Getting this done the night before your party will give you time to create beautiful arrangements. Plus, any unopened flowers will have time to bloom.
“Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi also advises preparing some dishes ahead of time. This will free up space in your oven the day of the party, and it will also help you feel less stressed about getting all your cooking done. Some great dishes to make ahead are casseroles, mashed potatoes and dinner rolls.
If you’re worried you won’t have enough serving utensils and bowls, Ree Drummond of “The Pioneer Woman” suggests taking out all of your serving dishes and labelling them with what food items they’ll hold. This will help you stay organized, and it will also show if you need to make a last minute trip to the store to pick up a few more serving bowls.
The Day of the Event
Get Everything Ready Before the Party Begins
Before your party begins, Martha Stewart suggests creating a signature cocktail. While playing mixologist for each of your guests is fun, it can be time-consuming. To make things easier on yourself, create one or two signature cocktails and keep them in pitchers.
According to party planner and author Colin Cowie, it’s also a good idea to have everything ready to go an hour or two before the party begins. Get your food prepared, your table set and your decorations up with plenty of time to spare. This will give you time to relax and get yourself ready before your guests arrive.
During the Event
Have Fun and Provide Entertainment During the Party
During your party, blogger Camille Styles recommends providing some board games and cards for guests of all ages to enjoy. Board games are an easy way to provide entertainment, and they’re also a great icebreaker for guests who may not know each other.
As the party goes on, you may begin to feel a bit tense as you try and make sure that everything is going perfectly. But try not to be too stressed. As chef Nigella Lawson says, your friends won’t be upset if things don’t go absolutely according to plan. So be sure to relax and have a great time celebrating the holiday season with your good friends!
Holiday Entertaining Tips Infographic
As you plan your holiday party, try to keep to a schedule that allows you to really put time into planning each aspect of your party. For more expert holiday party planning advice and an easy party planning timeline to follow, check out the handy guide below from our friends at FTD Fresh that includes all of these helpful holiday entertaining tips!