I like to party. That’s no secret.
I like big parties. I like little parties. I like parties for one: I’ve been known to make myself a fancy cocktail and dance to all my favorite jams, including but absolutely not limited to, Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam, Morrissey, City High, Snoop Dogg, Snoop Lion, Carly Rae Jepson, Rihanna, and more! My jams aren’t even limited to “and more!” To quote lyrics I assume you all know, “I got more rhymes than there’s cops at a Dunkin’ Donuts shop.” And I love to make a playlist for a party. It sets the tone. But I digress.
Some parties take a lot of planning. On Easter, we usually have around 30 people, and we set a record this year with 36, and that’s not even counting the after party. I love the after party. Even a seated dinner for 36, with china, silver, and linen natch, since that’s the way my mama did it, only requires a little advanced planning. By “advance planning,” I mean have your sister over the night before, drink a bunch of wine while ironing linen napkins, making a seating chart, and setting the table, then go to bed.
Parties take planning, but less than you think. The most important rule to remember is that no one notices the details like you do. Have you ever left a party and said, “Why did they even invite me over? The house was a mess and they ran out of cheesy poofs?” No, no you haven’t. And if you have, you’re a terrible guest and you probably won’t be invited back. As I mentioned, I like to party, so I’m a forgiving guest, if I even notice whatever you think it is you didn’t do. The only thing people really notice is if you run out of ice or toilet paper, and a cool guest will offer to run to the store and pick some up so the party can keep rolling.
No matter what kind of party you’re having, your guests — the good ones, at least — will be honored to be invited. It’s cheaper than going out, and you’re way more fun than random strangers in a bar. But a check list is nice, isn’t it? It’s no fun to open the door to your own party looking exhausted.
This is why I’ve created this handy printable Holiday Party Planning Checklist:
It’s all a part of The Goodies, our new downloadable content series that can help you declutter and DIY your way to a more inspired life.
In addition to that checklist, let me give you a few pointers:
1. You’re pretty enough.
Or whatever. Your friends have managed to look at you thus far without fleeing, so you need to be able to get dressed, including hair and makeup, in under 15 minutes. You know when this comes in handy? When someone offers you $500 a seat tickets to a fancy charity dinner at the very last minute. It happened to me, and it was awesome. I looked just fine and nobody was looking at me anyway. That free dinner was amazing.
2. Have a chill party friend.
This person should be organized, have an excellent sense of humor, and be able to get ready in 15 minutes or less. He or she should know how to set a table, and should be able to pick up extra supplies with minimal instructions. The friend you have to teach knife skills to before you let him at the lemons? Is not this friend. Whoever this friend is, invite them to come over early and help.
3. If the party’s big enough, consider hiring help.
This always sounded so fancy to me, until I realized you could hire a college aged kid for a reasonable hourly wage to help clean up during the party, replace appetizers, and keep an eye on things you might miss. A few hours of work for a reasonable wage ($15 to $20 an hour, in my opinion) is worth it for a lot of young people. In fact, I did it recently for a friend, and it was worth it to me, even at my advanced age.
5. Don’t overextend your budget.
There is nothing wrong with having a BYOB party. Or a micro-managed potluck, like I do on major holidays. Nothing adds stress like spending money you don’t have. That’s why I go to Goodwill for all my party decor.
6. Ask for help, and enjoy it.
A few years ago, I started ordering lamb shaped butter for Easter. It had to be ordered a couple of weeks in advance, but the wow-factor was worth it. This year? My Dad died and I forgot. The butter lamb took on some sort of epic importance. A friend volunteered to make the butter lambs, with a mold purchased online, and even added tiny glasses and mustaches. Total win. Make like Elsa and let it go!