Party countdown checklist for a casual Christmas party

Dec 8, 2010 at 1:13 p.m. ET

Are you planning a casual Christmas party in your home? With our party countdown checklist, you can make your holiday party planning a little easier.

Casual Christmas party

Party countdown checklist

One month or more before the party:

__ Decide on the date and time

__ Set a party budget

__ Create the party guest list

__ Book any vendors you may need (caterer, baker, florist, DJ, etc)

__ Find a couple friends or family members to help with the party planning

Three weeks before the party:

__ Invite guests using e-vites or paper invitations

__ Create a party menu (choose finger foods or buffet to make things easier)

__ Organize your party decorations; purchase any new centerpieces or other decor

__ Make a shopping list for food, drinks, paper goods, candles and other supplies

__ Arrange for a babysitter, if necessary

__ Delegate duties to those who are helping out

One week before the party:

__ Give your house a thorough cleaning

__ Hang festive Christmas lights and decorations

__ Select the party music and create a playlist on your computer or stereo

__ Call any guests who haven't RSVP'd

__ Confirm with vendors

__ Shop for all party goods except perishable foods

__ Order your cake, if necessary

Two days before the party:

__ Shop for food and other last minute items

__ Plan your party makeup, hair and attire

__ If you are having a gift exchange, make sure you have a few backup gifts

__ Be sure your camera batteries are charged

The night before the party:

__ Prepare the party food

__ Set up tables, chairs, trash bins and other equipment

__ Clear floors of any cords or other hazards; put away expensive items

The day of the party:

__ Do any last-minute tidying up, freshen the bathroom

__ Buy the ice and any forgotten items

__ Complete final food preparation

__ Relax and have fun

Holiday hostess tips

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