Tips for Planning a Last-Minute Holiday Party

It’s not too late to plan a fabulous holiday party. The key is to organize all your party-planning details into manageable steps (without forgetting anything!) No pressure, right? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Whether you’re having the whole extended family over for a large-scale holiday celebration or planning a night out with a small group of friends, here are some tips for throwing a festive (and organized!) shindig.

1. Decide on a Date and Time

Be selective when deciding on a date, especially since the holidays are a popular time for travel. You may want to consider circulating a Doodle to help find a date that works for everyone. Establishing a general timeframe is also a good idea. You know, so folks don’t overstay their welcome.

2. Pick a Location

If this party will take place in the comfort of your own home, this step is easy. If you’re hoping to rent out a room at a local restaurant or venue, you’ll want to quickly confirm availability with the venue and provide an estimated headcount.

3. Finalize Your Guest List

Do yourself a favor and make an organized spreadsheet early-on that includes the first name, last name, and email address or phone number for each of your guests. This will come in handy when you’re ready to send out invitations. Digital invitation services—like Greenvelope—let you upload your spreadsheet directly. It’s quick and easy!

4. Send Paperless Invites

We recommend sending digital invites because in addition to being chic, they’re instant! You’ll also find that managing your event is easier by going paperless, especially when it comes to tracking RSVPs. Set the stage for you party with a festive holiday invite (like one of these!)

Tips for Planning a Last-Minute Holiday Party

4. Create a Detailed to-do List

This to-do list should outline any of your smaller details, in order of importance and urgency. For example, things like catering orders or linen rentals should be completed earlier on your list whereas floral centerpieces can be assembled in the hours leading up to your party.

5. Plan a Menu

Your menu will depend a lot on your location. If you’re planning to have a caterer, be sure to provide an accurate guest count in advance so that no one leaves hungry. Or, maybe you have a family that loves to cook? If that’s the case, circulate a sign-up sheet where everyone can contribute a dish. If a restaurant is more your style, you might opt for a prix fixe menu with a couple options for each course. Regardless of what you decide, just make sure you have some bubbly for impromptu toasts!

6. Brainstorm Decorations

From rich reds and deep pine greens to royal blues and frosty whites, color accents can help set the overall tone and feel of your party (and the possibilities are endless!) If you’re in need of a little inspiration, check out these festive ideas from Better Homes & Gardens.

7. Coordinate Music

Good parties need good music. Depending on your venue, budget, and the amount of space you have, you could hire a band or a DJ. However, a pre-planned playlist from your phone works well too! Just make sure you have the right wiring and speaker equipment ahead of time.

8. Establish a Clean-up Crew

Do yourself a favor and assemble a crew of family or friends who can help you break down and clean up after your party.

Our most important tip? Remember that this party is about celebrating the holidays and spending as much time with friends and family as you can. Happy holidays and happy planning!