Monday, August 18, 2008

Summer's Waning Means the Holidays are Near

Even though the cicadas are still in full-buzz right now, we all know the weather will soon turn cooler, and with it, thoughts of pumpkins, turkeys and gifts. Often times, our busy lives keep us from thinking much beyond the next week, let alone months ahead. However, for anyone considering a special gathering within the next few months, a little planning now can go a long way to preserving sanity down the road. With this in mind, here are a few "holiday party planning tips."

1. Think about the holiday(s) you'd like to celebrate with a group of family or friends. Once you've determined that, you can begin working backwards to set a time-line for keeping your plans on track.

2. Consider the formality you'd like: a cocktail evening or loose come-as-you-are? What will your guests enjoy? You may dream of champagne glasses and pearls, but if your friends are more of the beer and jeans set, that might be more fun for everyone in the end. Ultimately, it is up to you as the host to do your best to make sure everyone is comfortable and has a good time.

3. Think about the supplies you'll need: tableware, serviceware, beverages, food... depending on the formality and what you plan to offer, this can really add up. Start looking for the non-perishable supplies as soon as possible; this will give you time to determine what you really like and comparison shop for price, possibly finding some bargains in the process. Waiting until the last minute nearly ensures you'll end up with expensive paper plates that don't match your theme.

4. Give plenty of notice. People's calendars fill-up quickly, especially in the last two months of the year. If you want to avoid hosting a party for yourself alone, make sure you get those invitations out early, whether they be printed, handwritten, phoned, or emailed. And, if you need to have a count ahead, make sure you let folks know to reply, and give them a date to respond by!

5. Relax. Plan to enjoy your event, no matter what happens. Most of the time, people never notice all the things that go "wrong." Your guests will enjoy you and your company, regardless of how perfectly things go!

Now, go enjoy what remains of the summer!

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