Planning and hosting a party can be a stressful and tiring endeavor during the holiday season, but it doesn’t have to be. Avenue magazine reached out to etiquette coach Sue Jacques from The Civility CEO for her tips on planning a holiday get together.
It’s best to be brutally realistic about your time in advance of the event. Making lists or using a party planning app will help you get a good idea on how long it takes to organize, purchase, order, set-up, cook and clean.
Decorating without breaking the bank is easy. Think twinkle lights, scented atomizers or candles, fresh flowers and plants, glitter and a beautifully decorated tree.
Napkins and tablecloths
If you’ve decided that guests can bring their children, it’s important to create a designated play/amusement space. Consider providing crafts, entertainment or movies. Remember to also have kid-friendly food on hand.
Think about space and party size
A large space with only a few people requires you to get savvy and move furniture around to create an intimate atmosphere. With small spaces, you need to predetermine your maximum capacity so you don’t invite too many people. A great way to manage traffic in a small space is to consider having groups arrive at two different start times.
Most people love to stand and mingle, so it’s OK if you don’t have a lot of seats. But, if you’re having a sit-down party and you need more seating or tables, try asking a neighbour, a family member or a friend if you can borrow some pieces from them. Alternatively, you can find very affordable and reusable folding or stacking chairs at places like Ikea and Costco.
A themed party with signature cocktails is a great idea to streamline preparations.
Always offer alcohol-free options; Safeway offers tasty beers with minimal alcohol and “alcohol-removed” wines and sparkling ciders. Guests who are not drinking should be able enjoy holding a beautiful stemmed glass without being asked a million times why they’re not drinking.
There’s no magic number for how many drinks to plan for each person. As a host, you are ultimately responsible for everyone’s safety. That said, it’s better to have too many supplies on hand than too little. Be prepared in advance to provide taxi chits or a driving service.
The best way to get rid of a stain is to boil a kettle of water, hold the fabric taut and pour the boiling water over the mark. It will vanish immediately. No need for fancy schmancy products. Be careful not to burn your hands! This is a two-person job, but it works every time.
For more stain removal tips with natural removers, visit canadianliving.com.
For more of Sue Jacques’ tips on hosting, check out Avenue‘s article on Hosting Etiquette Dos and Don’ts.