Holiday Party Planning

xmaspartyDo you dream of hosting a festive holiday party, replete with a stunning Christmas tree, adorned with shining lights and canapés and drinks straight from the Food Network?

This is great- but only if you have the budget to match.  You can still throw a suave fete, look like Martha Stewart, but keep your budget intact.

Watch the clock

Believe it or not, one of your biggest holiday allies is the clock-as in what time of day you choose to host your fete.

Plan for a party that bridges between meal times and you don’t have to supply a full meal, which will significantly reduce your costs. Think afternoon or evening, with set beginning and end times on the invite.

Open House

The holiday season is wonderfully conducive to the open house, which is also great for the party planner budget. It’s casual and suggests for guests to pop in and out and enjoy a drink, a snack and a quick visit in between all the holiday running around.

Double check your numbers

Make sure you know who is coming so that you can solidify your numbers. Buying and preparing too much food will squash your budget, but failing to provide enough will be super awkward.

How much?

Party planning isn’t good luck-there is a lot of math behind it. Typically, for a cocktail-type party, you plan for 4-6 bites (i.e. appetizers per person) over a two hour period.

For drinks, plan for 1.5-to 2 alcoholic drinks per person.  Additionally, plan on at least one non-alcoholic drink per person (more if there are children attending).

Hold the Booze

Alcohol is easily the biggest cost centre at a cocktail-type party or open house. Avoid overspending and waste by making an alcoholic punch, to which guests can serve themselves.

If you are setting out a self-serve bar, offer a couple of bottles of wine at a time (no use in wasting many half-used bottles at the end of the party). Set out some basic bar spirits (rum, vodka, gin) and an assortment of basic mixes.

Skip the florist

Head outdoors for your décor. Use natural materials like pine boughs, twigs and sticks to fashion table décor.

Fill vases with shiny Christmas ornaments or oranges. Head to the dollar store and load up on tiny votive tea lights and place them everywhere, illuminating the room for a small price.