8 Tips for Holiday Party Planning Confidence

grammie cocktailI’ve loved parties since I was knee high to
a grasshopper. {That is me (white Barrett) and Gigi (fuchsia dress) in the photo} My mother and grandmother have entertained many through the years and the memories of fabulous times have helped shape my modern day love of a great get together. Both Mom and Gigi let me help in their party preparations; put ice in the ice-bucket, diagnosis line up the Double-Old Fashion’s on the bar, viagra fill the cashew bowls…. Oh, mind how I loved theIMG_0396[4] anticipation before the party hour. I anxiously awaited for the well dressed-up grown-ups to arrive. Then the first knock at the door came and us kids went flying to our hide outs whispering “their here”. Carrying gifts and laughter, each guest seemed excited to connect with friends for a few adult hours. This memory has stayed with me and shaped my adulthood. Now that I‘m all grown up — I long to throw the parties I once witnessed as a child. There is such enjoyment having friends over. Some people get anxious with this thought. And I understand, hosting parties takes practice. But if you start off small and work your way up to a big shindig, success will be yours. I hope with these 8 simple tips anyone can have a great gathering no
matter what the size or your personal confidence level.

Tips for Party Planning Confidence:

Nov matthew party 034 1. A host/hostess who is at ease and takes everything in stride will have a relaxing, entertaining party. A stressed out hostess will have guests who can’t wait to
reach for their car keys, make the hidden signal to their partner and blame their early departure on the sitter. So try to Relax – have a glass of wine if it helps.

2. When I’m preparing for a dinner party, depending on my numbers, I think about the of tone the gathering. Will it be a casual dinner party, a Sunday dinner with family or an elegant meal with china and silver? Setting the tone makes all of the other decisions flow easily. Prepare for the group you are inviting. IMG_0400

3. Once the tone has been set the next decision is whether or not to have a sit down or buffet meal? The number of guests and how much seating you have in your home will help you answer this question. Just make sure you have plenty of food for everyone (err on the side of having a refrigerator of leftovers). Buffet or Sit
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4. Also consider where to set up your
booze. My parents’ always had a Bar, they still do. I however, do not. In my home I set up a bar in an area designed for liquid libation. Furthermore, during parties, I take away all my mommy office paraphernalia and bring in the glasses, trays, cocktail napkins, and wine buckets with ice. Map out your BOOZE area.

5. It’s important for your home to be fresh for your friends, so don’t forget to clean a day or two before the party. Make sure the powder room is dazzling and stocked with hand towels that smell like Downey Fabric Softener. As for all your clutter? Hide it in the master bedroom closet. And those baskets of laundry that still need folding; tuck them away in a random bedroom for the night. A Clean House will put guests at ease.

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6. The day of the party arrange flowers and set up the bar. Take out the bar glasses and make sure they are clean without pesky H2O spots. Prepare any food that can be done ahead of time. Try to have all your last minutes details complete HOURS before your party. This will enable you to Be Bored before your guest arrive, lowering anxiety levels.

7 . Have your back ground MUSIC ready. Grab a playlist from itunes that suits you.

8. After the first guests arrive, hang their coat, stow their purse and offer them a drink. Appetizers should also be ready to go. But above all SMILE. Remember a relaxed hostess makes a party fun – so enjoy your beloved friends and have FUN.


  1. This is a great post Kathleen. Where are you located? We just launched our Top 8 tips in regards to Holiday Party Etiquette: http://notabletv.com/2010/lifestyle/holiday-party-etiquette-what-to-do-and-what-not-to-do/ Enjoy and great work.

  2. Nancy Lindley says

    Yes, you bring back such treasured memoried. Of course you know that I attended those parties at your house and gave many of my own. Our group gave parties constantly. Your parents, the Bradshaws, the Andres, the Coils, the Aitkens, the Alfords, the Guards and on and on. We gave summer outdoor parties, dinner parties, and especially Christmas parties. Starting the first weekend in December it was parties at nighttime and daytime open houses. All of this was pre-Costco. We worked on hor d’ouvres for days. Honey Baked Hams with tiny rolls for building your own sandwitch was one shortcut which was popular.
    You are so right about doing everything possible way ahead of time. I set the table, put out the serving dishes with notes in them about what to put in them, arranged the flowers, rearranged the furniture to provide as much seating as possible (standing all evening in spiked heels is not my idea of fun), made little signs to identify regular or decaf, etc. Before party time I got dressed very early and did any last minute things so that I could enjoy the party, too.


  1. […] Sugar and Spice: Kathleen’s recipes have been featured in previous OC Moms Monday Mashups, but this time she’s got 8 great tips for holiday party-planning confidence. Having met Kathleen, let us just tell you that with her bubbly personality, she’s the perfect mama to offer this advice. […]

  2. […] get caught being the one mom who pays too much for presents! Sugar and Spice: Kathleen’s recipes have been featured in […]

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