We all love to catch up with friends, family and neighbours at Christmas time. So, how to do it?
Have a Plan.
The Occasion – Obviously this time of year its for Christmas, but is it a catch up over drinks? Dinner and drinks? Lunch? A picnic? BBQ? What will you plan to do once you get everyone together.
The guest list – that’s very important. Don’t overdo it and ask too many people. Ask as many people as your house can comfortably take (Or the number your Occasion will allow). Also choose your guests well. Choose people that will have some kind of connection and will want to talk to one another.
The date and time – Always make sure to allow at least 4 weeks notice when inviting people to an event, at Christmas time people may need even more notice as there are usually a number of events to attend this time of year. Make sure you choose a time of day that suits the food and drinks you plan to supply, if you ask people to be there at midday they will be hungry for lunch, if you’re not supplying it you’ll want to choose a different time.
Invitations – You can do it properly and send out a written invitation, something which I admit I love to send and receive, but there is nothing wrong with a text, email or phone call.
Food and Drink – Depending on the type of party and the guests this is an important part of your event. To help you gage how much to serve at a party I have provided a helpful chart below that will help take the guess work out of it (thanks Chickabug).
Important Notes to Consider:
Table space When you have a party, it’s vital that you have somewhere where you can put down your drink. So clear off surfaces and don’t cover every table and counter top with baubles and tinsel.
Setting the tone The cheapest and most effective way to create a mood for a house party is by using candles. They don’t have to be in expensive silver holders, but using candles in different pots in varying colours creates a striking impact. A basic colour theme is always a good idea because as human beings we are very visual without even knowing it. Music is also a huge part of the atmosphere so maybe choose a playlist on your iPad, seasonal or contemporary and if your guests are all of a certain age, you can go all out and pick music from a year that meant a lot to all of you and will evoke memories.
Dress code Always include a dress code on the invitation. You don’t want the leave the guests guessing about what is appropriate attire or have them feel uncomfortable if they’re dressed casually while everyone else has gone formal.
Kids at parties Generally, if you are going to a formal do then leave the kids with the babysitters. More casual, family parties are fine for kids to attend, but even then they should ideally have a separate area to hang out, where they can relax and watch a movie if it all gets too much.
Outdoors For daytime parties, provide some shade. If you’re not using a marquee, consider using large beach umbrella. Even a large tarp strung up between trees or the fence can provide good shade. Don’t forget to have sunscreen and insect repellent available for your guests. For night parties, fairy lights or lanterns set the party scene while citronella torches will help keep mosquitoes at bay. Bring food outdoors as soon as possible so that guests don’t hang about indoors. Discourage guests from going indoors unless it’s to the bathroom
A few practical bits
- Keep ashtrays handy so that guests don’t throw their butts in the garden or pool. Small pots or trays filled with sand are useful.
- Make sure you have plenty of garbage bins and bags on hand.
- If you don’t have a dedicated drinks fridge its a great idea to fill some buckets/an eski/the laundry sink with ice to keep drinks cool.
- Issue written invitations and give an RSVP date and contact phone number.
- Ask a couple of friends to act as bouncers.
- Move all valuable garden ornaments and vulnerable pot plants out of the way.
- Offer plenty of non-alcoholic drinks.
- Encourage guests to take a taxi home if they’ve had too much to drink
Sending them home – A terrible party will never need this step as everyone cant wait to leave! But I know you wont have that problem, if you’re like me and love your sleep you will need to help people along and there are a few ways to do this: You can be specific on your invitation, most people respect that a dinner party isn’t going to be an all-night party and will start to leave on their own, however you can start winding things down by turning on lights, turning music off, and clearing up dishes. If you have a few hangers on there is nothing wrong with announcing ‘that’s it, we’ve had a great night, it’s time to head home’. If its done properly and politely, everyone leaves on a high.