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October is here and the upcoming months will be very busy. Soon there will Halloween parties, pumpkin patch outings, football games, Thanksgiving, holiday parties, tree lightings, religious holidays, and New Years; all coming at us in a relentless succession. You may be wondering how to get the most out of your holiday season without overwhelming yourself. Or, you may want to host a holiday party; but are unsure if you can take on the added workload.
The secret to a smooth running, fulfilling, no regrets end of the year celebration is preparation. Start early, now in fact, and you’ll be able to take on even the most hectic holiday schedules with grace and poise. But, most importantly, as a reward for your forethought you’ll be able to enjoy this time with friends and family.
This post is part one of my Holiday Party Planning series. Over the next few weeks we’ll tackle how to throw, plan, and host a holiday party. October is the month to plan and strategize. Determining what you want to do, when you want to do it, and how you’re going to do it should be the focus of this month. Let’s break down the October plan.
Holiday Party Planning & Strategizing
1. Choose an event(s)
What event do you want to host? This can be anything. Thanksgiving desserts, Christmas dinner, or maybe an end of the year party. Decide what you want to do and the week you want to host. If we’re talking about Thanksgiving or Christmas, that date is a no brainer. But, general holiday parties start anywhere from two weeks before Christmas to New Years day. So, select a tentative week in which you’d like to host.
How many people do you intend to host? Is this a small intimate gathering or your entire contact list plus the neighbors type of party? Will I send formal invitations or informal invitations?
3. Things You’ll Need
Here’s where it gets heavy. The best way to do this is to imagine yourself as a guest. Start from the moment you pull up to your home. What do you expect to see, what do you want to see, and what do you need to see. Consider things like: is the lighting up to my doorway adequate? Are the numbers on my house or apartment visible from a distance? Where will I put my coat and purse? Do I need to remove my shoes? How will I get my refreshments? What are my seating options? Where is the bathroom? Does the guest bathroom have xyz? etc. (Note: Keep a look out for my comprehensive party planning checklist coming soon.)
4. Estimated Cost
Start with what you want to do, then estimate the cost. If it is more than you’re willing/able to pay simply scale back. Don’t ring in the New Year in debt. I repeat, do not ring in the New Year in debt because you’ve overspent on a holiday party. Having a small party budget is no big deal. Consider reducing the number of invitees. Cut back on the number of beverage options. Plan a cocktail and dessert party instead of a dinner. Or, make your dinner potluck style. There are tons of ways to trim back holiday party costs and still host a fabulous event.
5. Deep Cleaning Checklist
I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t want to present their home at its best when company arrives. Create a deep cleaning checklist that you’ll make your way through in the month of November. I know spring cleaning is all the rage, but I personally do my biggest deep clean right before the holidays. There are guests coming and going for months and I want to have a good base cleaning done. Then, in the spring I’ll worry about all the left over glitter and pine needles.
There are two women that have seriously changed the way I look at deep cleaning my home. I’ve been following their methods for years. The first is the FlyLady. I’ve mentioned her in a previous post. Her zone cleaning and daily cleaning routines are awesome. And, every holiday season a series of Holiday Cruising emails goes out to help you keep on track for the holidays. I highly recommend that you subscribe to her list. You won’t be disappointed. She guides you through how to tackle a little bit at a time so you’re home is in tip top shape for guests.
The second woman I’d like to mention is Nikki Boyd from At Home With Nikki. I love all of the videos on her YouTube Channel, but one in particular has stuck with me. It’s called Cleaning Tips To Sparkle Your Home. I’ll embed it below. This video is from 5 years ago and the information in it still rings true today.
Work on tackling these four items in the month of October. In the next segment of the Holiday Party Planning Series we’ll talk about meal planning and home prep. If you found this post helpful please share it with a friend. For more content from Dianne Decor follow us on Bloglovin’ and Instagram.