Hosting a holiday party is a fun way to get together with friends and family, but the planning and actual hosting can be quite stressful. Below are a few tips to help you plan a ridiculously efficient holiday party, making sure both you and your guests have a pleasant time.
1. You don't have to do it all yourself.
When it comes to hosting a party, big or small, remember that it's okay to ask for help! Potluck style is a great way to go -- have attendees bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert to lessen the burden on you. In most cases, everyone will be happy to be of some help. In my experience, most people will probably ask what they can bring anyway.
If cooking isn't your thing or you're strapped for time, take out is a great option. Create a buffet from a restaurant you like and want to share with your friends and family -- I find Indian, Chinese and Portuguese chicken make great buffet-style meals. My family and I have had a few of our Christmas dinners catered by a trusted restaurant we know and love when cooking was just not a savoury option.
2. Keep the menu simple.
Don't complicate the menu by adding too many options. A main dish, a couple of sides, and a dessert will suffice. WIth too many options, you'll only be adding stress for yourself and you'll be left with a lot more leftovers than you know what to do with.
3. Have entertainment ready, but don't force it.
It's likely that the people you are inviting over are happy to just hang out and have great conversation with you and other party guests. Be sure you have some entertainment, like background music and board games, at the ready but don't force the activities. Keep the activities within sight and suggest a game after dinner -- if the response is receptive, go for it! If not, let the evening progress naturally.
4. Keep holiday festivities simple.
A holiday party means there will be some festive-ness involved, and who doesn't love that! If there's a theme, like an ugly Christmas sweater party, ensure the correct attire is both easy and cheap for your guests to get a hold of -- you don't want them to have to put in too much work just so they can attend your party. Add in little details, like Christmas crackers, a Secret Santa game, or Christmas-themed photo props to get everyone in the spirit. Just ensure your holiday decor doesn't take away from the space but adds to it.
5. If you don't have time to clean, just clean the bathroom.
The bathroom or powder room that the guests will be using is the most important room to clean before your party. If you find yourself with less time to prepare than you had anticipated, throw any out-of-place items in your bedroom and shut the door -- and keep it closed for the duration of the party. Give your kitchen a quick wipe down -- it'll be a mess again soon after the guests arrive. Focus your cleaning energy on the guest bathroom. Use a glass or all-purpose cleaner to clean the sink, faucets, toilet, and mirror. Vacuum the tiles to get rid of hair and dust, and skip mopping altogether. Lastly, make sure there is a clean hand towel available. If you have an extra minute or two, light a candle -- it helps the ambiance and masks any unwanted smells that you often find in bathrooms being used by multiple people.