Holiday Party Planning 101: 5 Ways to keep it Simple, Stress Free, and Fun

The holidays are here and we start to wonder where the time went. In this season, we want to help you with your holiday party planning in whatever way we can. We've got four simple ways to help you plan and be prepared this holiday season, along with some fun recipes at the end. Go ahead, read on!

1. THE DATE

It's best to pick a date for your holiday party as soon as possible. Start looking at when your work office party is, as well as when your family is coming to town to prevent overlap of commitments. There are so many variables to work around, so finding an open date early on really helps to cut down on the level of stress during the holidays. This also helps your guests to prepare ahead of time and get your party on their schedule!

2. THE PREPARATIONS

There are many aspects that go into preparing for a holiday party. Ask yourself some basic questions to get it going. Do you want a theme for your party? How many people do you want to invite? Are you planning on having everyone over to your home or do you want to rent out a facility? Will you be having the meal catered or have everyone participate in bringing a dish to share? Do you want to do just a dessert holiday party?

Be creative with your ideas and involve your guests! Deciding on decorations ahead of time will help the evening go smoothly. A few simple items can go a long way, along with some table settings to help the evening feel comfy and cozy. If you decide to have the meal catered, you can spend time creating a fun theme at your party with decorations, or dressing up with ugly Christmas Sweaters, or even a game night. Whatever you choose, stick with it. It can be easy to go overboard and try to change things at the last minute. Remember, this is a time to get together and enjoy each other. Make your holiday party truly about the people you are with and not all the things surrounding the party.

3. THE FOOD

This is the main staple of your holiday party! It's hard to gather a group of people together for a great evening without having some holiday food on hand. The holidays are a great time for everyone to bring their favorite dishes, and it's also where secret recipes are shared!

We highly recommend involving all of your guests in the food preparations for the party. It takes a load of stress off of you as the host, and allows everyone to participate and bring something unique to the table. Of course, there will be the traditional dishes, but each person usually has their own variation, which makes it fun to have at least two of the same dish, but each with a unique twist. Some traditional dishes we recommend are: turkey & stuffing, gravy with its variations, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, salads, casseroles, cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls. Some fun extra dishes are mac & cheese, twice baked potatoes, and another meat such as ham.

Be sure to check on what everyone is bringing and make any necessary changes if you have too many similar dishes. Trust us, your guests won't mind because they'll want the variation too!

4. THE DRINKS & DESSERTS

Amen and Amen! We love to have a good time, just like you. For drinks, we suggest that you have some simple basics on hand, and let your guests bring their favorite if they desire. If you have some whisky, let your guest bring vodka and tonic. Have someone else bring cranberry juice. Be sure to have lemons, limes and oranges on hand, always!

Even after all of the remarkable food, we know that somehow we'll find a way to make a little extra room for dessert. As the host, we recommend that you bake what you want for dessert. Is pumpkin pie your favorite? Go for it! Do you have a favorite holiday treat that you want to surprise everyone with? Prepare that! And let your guests bring their favorite too.

Here are some suggestions we think you and your guests will enjoy. Share your favorites!

Gingerbread Eggnog White Russian - from Delish. Spice meets holiday in a cup of decadence.

Pomegranate Moscow Mule - from Delish. Moscow Mule with a spritz of holiday.

Hot Chocolate Meringue Cake - from Country Living. This cake gets its heat from a dash of Cayenne Pepper.

5. The Rentals

A lot of people choose to host holiday parts which means that there are plenty of options are there. Are you looking for ways to make your event unique and memorable? Consider renting fun and stylish lounge furniture, farm tables, hairpin tables, market lights or general decor.