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11 Ways To Prep For The Best Holiday Party

This blog is contributed by Kelly Johnson. Kelly is a novice lifestyle writer who wants to help others navigate the everyday complexities of life through sharing uncomplicated advice. Committed bookworm, coffee, fitness and fashion enthusiast who loves dogs to death. She personally believes that writing is sharing and sharing offers opportunities for learning. 

The holidays are here, and it’s that time of the year when everyone gathers for the festivities. In the spirit of the cheery mood, parties are inevitable. If you’re one of those people who love throwing a party to be with loved ones and friends, you’d know that there’s the pressure to “outdo” the last party you attended. 

The best holiday party is subjective. It may mean having the best food and decorations, and for others, it may mean elaborately put-together DIY decors and homemade food. Whatever it is, the most important thing to remember is to go for what you consider the best.

Whether you’re having your food catered and decorations professionally put up or prepping and cooking a storm and making your own setup, there are measures you can take to make the process easier. A mark of a good holiday party organizer is having guests who continue to rave about it in the next party up to the next one you’ll host next year.

Feeling the pressure of organizing one of the most joyous parties of the year? There’s no need to fret; read on below for tips on how to prep for it.

Plan Way Ahead

If you want to host the most banging party, catering or none, you need to plan way ahead of time. There’s no such thing as early when it comes to planning for the holidays. Some things take time, like elaborate food and decors, and if you want your vision of the perfect party to come to fruition, you need to order for these things in advance and definitely before the seasonal rush begins.

It helps if you keep a personal journal or put notes in your phone in order to take note of the things you want to be done. Some people find things easy to remember when they are written down, or if you’re a more visual person, you can sketch it out on paper. Make it as detailed as possible so you can quickly narrow down the things you want.


Choose The Date

If you want to have a memorable holiday party, you must have all the people you want to attend it. The holidays are a busy period, and everyone almost always has something going on, a gathering, dinner parties, and so on.

If it’s possible, set the date as early as you can, and let people know in advance so they can commit to your party first. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the details of your party ironed out yet. If you’re sure about hosting a holiday party, act as fast as you can so you’ll have more people attending.

When sending the invite, you can enclose yourpersonal holiday cards as well to make it easier for you. Getting premade ones that you can customize to your own liking is pretty neat since it takes minimal effort but at the same time, shows that you care. Since you’re busy organizing the party, you may not have time for it later.

Establish Your Budget

Knowing the budget you’re working with will indicate how much you can spend on food, decor, and entertainment. It also sets your expectations, whether you should go for certain things that may be out of your range. Allocating the budget carefully is one of the most stressful things you have to do as the planner, so it would be best if you know this as early as you can.

If you’re organizing the party for your company, it would be easier to ask the admin how much the budget is. A good rule of thumb to remember is to leave some money aside for later. Expect unexpected costs to crop up later even if you have a meticulously planned budget. Don’t splurge unnecessarily so you’ll have something for later.

Book the Venue Early

As mentioned, the holidays are filled with seasonal events, so there will be a lot of parties everywhere. It helps to book the venue early as you can so your chosen date will be on lock. It will be a nightmare to look for another one later when you find out that the venue is not available on your preferred date. 

Identify the requirements for your ideal venue, and ask for a quote from spaces that hold a lot of events the whole year round. Don’t be afraid to ask around from colleagues and friends for tips on possible venues.

Before booking a venue, read the terms and conditions about the place thoroughly, double-check the quote, and determine if there are no hidden charges. Be willing to negotiate if you find something not to your liking.

Stick to a Theme If Possible

The holidays are one big theme already, but if you want to get past generic things to make your party more memorable, go for a more specific theme. Since it’s the Yuletide, you’ll want to go with themes that are inspired by symbols and other things that are abundant during this time. You can have a holiday party completely based off candy canes, snow, or even Santa and the elves. It is up to you.


When you send out your invites, be sure to tell your guests about the theme, and while you don’t want to police them into complying, you can tell them gently that it is optional. To make it easier for your guests, suggest examples that go well with your theme. If you want to make it more fun, mention that there will be a prize for the most creative getup or even costume.

The event should have things that are associated with the chosen theme. If you have a stage, have its styling reflect it. You can be as thorough as you want as you can apply it to many other aspects, including reception drinks, table centerpieces, food, booze, and many more.

Food Is Important

Eating is easily one of the biggest highlights of any gathering. When you decide on what food to get, it is important to provide options for people who may have dietary restrictions, so ask your guests about what they are allergic to. Some people prefer to have turkey for the holidays while others prefer anything non-animal, so there should be a choice for starters, main entrées, and even desserts. 

Choosing how food to be served is important too. The most fuss-free way to do that would be buffet style, but it is out of place if you have a formal gathering. An alternative is to have guests choose from a set menu in advance, preferably with their RSVP, so that it can be prepared in advance. 

When deciding what food to serve, remember to incorporate some elements of your chosen theme in them if you can. If you’re having trouble trying to showcase your food, try usingtiered cake stands. You can save space while making your finger foods look appetizing and inviting.

Serve Festive Booze

Nothing makes everyone get in the festive mood faster than a couple of good drinks can. Depending on what kind of party you have, you can choose to have some cocktails before the main dinner or have the drinks served after everyone has eaten. It is recommended to have festive booze-related to the theme of your party.

Here are somegood ideas for holiday booze!

Set the Festive Mood with Music

It may not be something you think about at first, but it’s important to have good tunes when you’re entertaining. Christmas music is always a foolproof way to go about it, but you need something more than that. Now that everyone has eaten and is currently drinking their fill, you can liven up the party a bit.

Dance parties are a great way for everyone to get up on their feet and celebrate the night away. Either a DJ, a live band, or a musician can serve your purpose. If you’re just having a simple party at home, a good lively playlist will do. Make sure your sound system at home is sufficiently loud enough for your guests.

Play Group Games


Make the party even more fun by organizing group games. You may need to prepare some things depending on what kind of games you’ll be playing. Get everyone in the spirit of competition by announcing prizes for those who will win.

If there are children in your event, definitely prepare some kid-safe options and their respective prizes. Here are some great Christmas partygame ideas you can check out. Smiling Tree Toys also makes an amazingSmiling Moon Balancer that’s fun for young and old alike!

Exchange Gifts

Giving and receiving Christmas presents is a tradition, and it is a great way to show the people you love that you are thankful. Make sure to tell your guests that they are to bring gifts if they want to participate in the gift changing. There are many ways you can go about exchanging gifts at your party. Here are someideas on how to spice up the tradition!


You could even gift your guests a personalized ornament to memorialize the night and as a special way to say thank you.

And if you’re hoping for plastic-free gifts,we've got ideas for how to [politely] request plastic-free toys.

Take a Lot of Photos

merry and bright wooden bunting smiling tree toys

Commemorate the event by taking a lot of photos with everyone. If you have guests that have a photography hobby, it would be a good time to ask them for favors. If not, you can always do the old-fashioned way of gathering everyone together to pose in front of the camera. With the accessibility of smartphones with cameras, selfies and even videos work as well. A simple and tasteful decor idea that you could use in your photos isSmiling Tree Toys Merry & Bright wall bunting.

Express Your Gratitude

As your party comes to a close, it is important to tell your guests that you appreciate their taking the time to attend. Have a thank-you speech ready or some words of gratitude for the people in your life. Not only will they appreciate the gesture, but it will also make the holidays more special.

How do you prep for a holiday party you’re organizing? Share your tips and techniques in the comments below or on one of Smiling Tree Toys’ (@smilingtreetoys) recent Instagram posts.

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