Throw The Perfect Party

'Tis the season for holiday entertaining! Hosting the perfect holiday party doesn't have to be a stressful burden.

Frinds having a hloiday dinner party

The holiday season is stressful enough, but don't let planning a party be a stress — parties are for celebrating! Consider these useful tips while planning your next holiday bash.

Set a budget

Set a dollar amount for what you're willing to spend and stick to it. Over-spending adds to holiday stress! Consider all aspects of your party while planning your budget —  food, drink, decorations, invitations, party favors and music.

Buffet versus seated dinner

Decide if you're going to have a seated dinner or a buffet-style gathering. A cute party favor idea for a seated dinner is to have a personalized ornament at each place setting.

Plan your menu

Plan your menu according to the number of guests you will be serving. Stick to what you're most comfortable cooking — there's nothing more stressful than attempting to prepare a new recipe for an event. Consider a potluck (most people ask what they can bring when invited to a party). Prepare ahead of time as many foods as you can such as dips, casseroles and vegetables. Purchasing ready-made items such as Sister Schubert's Rolls helps to slash preparation time. Mix cocktails that can be self-served in large batches — eggnog, apple cider or punch. Remember to have plenty of ice on hand.

Set the mood

Lighting and decorations are crucial! Low lighting creates ambiance, and candles never go out of style. Be prepared with a playlist of holiday music. Display ornaments on a tray or in a decorative bowl. Dress up your tables with festive tablecloths. Consider creative ways to display your holiday cards, such as arranging them in a "tree" shape on a wall.

Clean up

Clean as you work, especially while cooking. Don't be left with a sink overflowing with dirty dishes after your gathering. Double-line your wastebaskets so that a new garbage bag is readily available. Be prepared for leftovers by ensuring you have available space in your refrigerator.

Get more holiday party tips

Expert tips for planning the ultimate holiday party
How to throw a kid-friendly holiday party
The dos and don'ts of holiday entertaining

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