Now that the leaves have started to fall and the air is a little crisper, we all know what’s coming….The HOLIDAYS! Whether the fall season makes you super excited or super stressed, there are easy steps to make the holiday season a fun filled time. The key to enjoying the holidays (instead of stressing about them) is planning! Here are six steps to help you plan the perfect holiday season.
- Six weeks out – Get out your calendar and decide what you want to tackle this holiday season. Deciding early if you want to have a big get together or an intimate gathering of family and friends for the holidays can take away some of the anxiety. Sometimes your guest list will decide for you, so if you prefer smaller gatherings but have a long list of friends and family, maybe plan a couple of events over the next few months so you can enjoy the season with your whole guest list, but only a few at a time. Who ever said you can only have one holiday party anyway!
- Five weeks out – Invite your guests and plan your menus. During the holidays, people make plans a head of time so make sure to get your event on their radar early. If you are having multiple gatherings, having a couple of dates to provide your guests often ensures they can make one of your festive events. Once you have a guest list, start to think about your menu and the kind of meal you want – sit down vs buffet vs take out.
- Three weeks out – Now you know who’s coming and what you are serving, start making a shopping list for the food and drinks, making sure you have something for everyone. If you are cooking, this is a good time to look at your menu and see what you can prepare in advance and freeze, or what you will need to order in advance, like desserts or cakes that may have a lead time. It is also the perfect time to see if you need to get anything else for the party, like extra plates, linens, or chairs. Whether your go the paper plate route or the real dish route, make sure you have extras incase there are any last minute guests that attend.
- Two weeks out – Send a reminder email to your guests, with your address and directions in case they aren’t regulars at your house. If you want to start a tradition, you can ask guests to bring an ornament to help decorate the tree, or to bring something to create a centerpiece. Something you will remember for future events.
- Week of the event – Time for more planning! Plan out your week, scheduling when you are going to cook, clean, and decorate will let you accomplish little tasks each day so nothing gets overwhelming and you are more relaxed when the party comes.
- Party time – The day of the party should be relatively stress free! Yes, there will be stuff to cook, but the majority of the work will be done earlier in the week (setting up the bar, decorating, making any food that can be made in advance) so it should give you a couple of minutes to relax before the guests arrive. The most important step for today is to ENJOY YOURSELF! Take pictures, make memories and have fun, that’s what you planned all of this for.