The holidays will be here before you know it, and with the holiday season comes all kinds of parties. Planning a party doesn’t have to be hard, though. Follow the five steps below, brought to you by Evite in partnership with Scotch-Brite™ Brand, for a headache-free holiday party.
1. Make a plan
The easiest way to stay stress-free when planning a holiday party is to start by making a list of to-dos. Leave yourself enough time to clean, shop for groceries, decorate and stage your space, then stay on track by checking off each task as you go. A few days before the party, start shopping for all your party essentials, including buying beverages, getting groceries (buy the basics in bulk so you won’t run out) and stocking up on staples like disposable dishware. When getting groceries, purchase things that don’t require a lot of prep (think cheese and crackers, fruit, veggies, dip, etc.) Don’t pick up food too far in advance or else you run the risk of it going bad; a few days before the big event is just enough time to avoid unnecessary stress but make sure everything stays fresh. The evening before the party, plan to do some decorating or pick out your outfit. Leave the day of to do things like last-minute party prep, including setting out dishware.
2. Don’t wait until the the last minute to clean
No one likes to clean, but with these quick tips you’ll be done before you know it. Make it extra easy on yourself by deep cleaning just the essential parts of your home (i.e. all the places where the party will be contained, like the kitchen, bathroom and primary entertaining space). Two to three hours before your party, start by wiping down the counters in the kitchen and scrubbing the sink and stovetop (Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges do the hard work so you don’t have to), vacuuming the carpet or mopping the floors, cleaning up any clutter and tackling the bathroom. If you want to avoid the headache altogether, consider hiring a cleaning service to do the work for you. You can even give specific instructions about what you want cleaned or ask that they use your own cleaning products.
3. Don’t go overboard on decor
When it comes to decorating, no need to go all out. After all, the whole point of the party is to spend time and celebrate with loved ones. Stick to something simple, like a printable banner (you can download one online or purchase one at a party supply store). If you celebrate Christmas, keep your tree looking festive but fuss-free. String lights and some ornaments in assorted colors are all you need. If you have a fireplace, hang some simple stockings on the mantel, add a green garland, then hang a frosted wreath above to complete the look. Set out some candles to create an ambience (bonus points if they come in holiday scents and shapes, like the pinecone and Christmas tree candles below), then add fresh flowers (buying a bouquet of flowers instantly brightens up your space). Finally, skip the fine china and mix and match plates or use disposable dishware instead.
4. Host an open house and just serve snacks
This year, forgo your formal holiday party plans and host an open house instead so guests can come and go as they please. Skip the sit-down dinner and set up a snack and appetizer bar on one side of the room where partygoers can mix and mingle, or ask guests to bring their favorite dishes to share. Serving cocktail party food will encourage guests to be social and cut down on kitchen — and shopping — time. Plus, grab-and-go finger foods mean no utensils are needed. We recommend some simple charcuterie (include a hard and soft cheese, dried and fresh fruits, olives, assorted deli meats, and bread or crackers), stuffed mushrooms, bacon-wrapped Brussels sprouts, mini quiche and an assortment of store-bought desserts.
5. Set up a bar cart so guests can serve themselves
Since you’re hosting an open house, it’s not necessary to play bartender all evening. Instead, set up a bar cart so guests can create their own custom cocktails (or mix their own mocktails). If you want a complete bar, stock up on liquor including vodka, tequila, rum and gin, and nonalcoholic mixers, including tonic water, juice and soda. If you’re having an intimate get-together with just a few friends, don’t feel the need to buy everything at the liquor store; just include enough options for guests to be able to make one or two signature drinks. Make sure you include both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks so there’s something for everyone. And don’t forget the ice.
And always remember to keep Scotch-Brite™ Brand sponges on hand in case you have a spill.