I have a friend who has already received two invitations to Holiday Parties this year. She got them just after Halloween! We've all heard of the Christmas Creep, where companies start putting up holiday decorations and bombarding us with early holiday advertisements; at first it wasn't until after Thanksgiving... then it wasn't until after Halloween... now mid-October seems to be fair game for some companies!
Realizing how quickly November and December can fly by with family and holidays and busy work weeks, Seattle Party Booth posted a blog on starting your Holiday Planning Early a few weeks ago. At this point, in early November, we want to encourage some serious buckling down and getting planning. To help ease the stress of the ever increasing To Do List, we have gathered some tips for you.
Holiday Party Planning Tips:
1. Organize your Guest List:
The general rule of thumb is to assume that 30% of your guests will not be able to attend. However, if you personally invite guests, send them a card in the mail (as opposed to email invites), or call them to invite them, the unable to attend rate will drop. Keep in mind this is the Holiday Season and there are a lot of parties going on, some of your guest may be party hoppers or out of town.
2. Pick your date:
If possible, before you send out invites, ask a few of your close friends and guests what days they will be available. Once you have gathered a general consensus, mark the calendar and get those invites out!
3. Estimate your food and drink:
Based on the number of people expected to attend, start planning how much food and drinks you will need. Questions to consider: Are you going to have a sit down dinner? Are you going to have a buffet? Are you only going to serve snack foods? Does anyone on your invite list have allergies or nutritional limitations. If budget is an issue, consider this step before sending out invites to a ton of people. Cutting the guest list is a great way to cut costs. Another way to cut costs is to serve a couple signature drinks instead of offering a lot of drink options.
Here is a general estimate on how much alcohol you will need:
Beer: 60 Bottles
Wine and Champagne: 9 Bottles
Hard Liquor: 3 Bottles
Mixers: 12 liters
Beer: 120 Bottles
Wine and Champagne: 18 boottles
Hard Liquor: 6 bottles
Mixers: 24 liters
Beer: 240 Bottles
Wine and Champagne: 36 bottles
Hard Liquor: 11 bottles
Mixers: 48 liters
4. Plan your decorations:
How ornate do you want to go? Do you need to rent anything? Is this a themed party? How formal is your party? These are all questions to consider early on in the planning process, especially if you are going to need a lot of supplies. Ideally, you will be able to delegate this task to a friend or family member while you can handle food, drinks and invitations. And, don't forget about the music! Someone will need to create a great playlist that will keep the party going throughout.
5. Plan the entertainment!
Don't be intimidated, but this is what makes or breaks your party (that is, after the food and drinks!) Think about who is on your guest list. Are there children? Are there a lot of teenagers? Is everyone about the same age? How do you know your guests? Are they all from work? Are they going to be interested in the same things? Don't worry, we have a few ideas for entertainment that are great for any party:
The Photo Booth:
We've seen first hand the success of a photo booth across demographics, from young to professional, this makes the party that much more memorable. Contact us for more information.
The Gift Exchange:
This is a classic with many variations that can personalize your party and add just the right amount of fun! It is also a great way to eliminate the need for party favors at the end of the night.
Decorating Gingerbread Houses:
A great party idea for parties with younger children. However, this does require a lot of supervision and can be messy, it is always a lot of fun and parents are thrilled to see what their children create.
From Apples to Apples to Would You Rather to Taboo or Catch Phrase, board games can create a fun and casual environment. You don't have to play for points or on any specific teams. These can be great options to keep the party going if things start to die down.
6. Do as much as you can beforehand.
This seems simple but as the holiday season rolls around time seems to be in short supply. Delegate as much as you need and try to get a head start on the pieces you can. Make sure you have an alternative plan for elements of your party that have the potential to fall through. Are you planning a gift exchange? You may want to purchase extra gifts in case some people forget to bring one.
Hope this helps! Do you have any other ideas that you would like to share? We'd love to hear them in the comments!
Planning a corporate party? Check out Seattle Party Booth's blog here!