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One of the best parties I’ve ever thrown was a New Year’s Eve party at my friend Katie’s house. We planned it around a “casino night” theme and spent the evening playing cards and games. We all had so much fun that night!

Of course, I’ve also planned New Year’s Eve parties that only two or three people showed up for. Honestly, those parties were a lot of fun, too – but not exactly what I have in mind when I start making lists and sending invites for a party on the last night of the year.

Whether you’re planning a small get-together or a huge bash, a few simple steps will make sure your party is a blast.

How to Have a {Fabulous} Holiday Party

  1. Plan early! If you haven’t sent invitations yet, do it now! People’s schedules fill up crazy fast in December, and you don’t want your friends and family to miss the best party of the season (yours)!
  2. Keep expectations realistic. December may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the busy-est and sometimes the most stressful. And, let’s face it, the time when many people are most likely to go completely crazy. I’m just saying: keep that in mind.
  3. Make a budget – and stick to it. I know, I know. What fun is that? But in this season of excess, you’ll be glad that your photos and memories are the only reminders of your party – and not your credit card bill.
  4. Consider a theme. You don’t have to. I get it. A theme isn’t everyone’s thing. But if it might be your thing, consider it. Having a unified approach to your plans will make planning easier – and your party more interesting!
  5. Don’t go overboard. Why are you throwing this party? To impress your friends or show up your neighbors? Or to celebrate the holidays and spend time with the people who mean the most to you? Right. So take a deep breath and focus on what’s important (people not party favors, family and friends not fancy food, memories not . . . well, you get the picture).

A few other considerations to keep in mind for end-of-year parties:

  • Alcohol: Your first question is to serve or not to serve, and it is your choice. However, remember that with great hostess power comes great responsibility – and that includes less-than-sober guests (and their ride home).
  • Weather: Even if your party doesn’t involve karaoke (although, really, why wouldn’t it?), your guests might be singing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” anyway. It’s winter, it’s cold – so prepare accordingly. Shovel and salt your drive and porch. Have plenty of room for wiping wet feet – or hand everyone a pair of slippers when they walk in! And don’t forget the hot drinks. I made this hot apple cider cocktail last year, and it was delightful.
  • Clean Up: When your party wraps up – late at night, after hours of planning, preparing and partying – you may be less than inclined to clean up the remnants of your fun. If you’re hosting a party somewhere other than your house, make sure you plan for this. Recruit friends, write a late-clean-up line in your contract, or have coffee on hand for the moment your last guest says good night.

For more helpful tips, checklists, planning templates and more, check out my ebook, Plan a Fabulous Party {without losing your mind}. And until December 31, use the code INPARTYBOOK for a 20% discount.

Are you planning any holiday parties? Do you have any tips for success?

I also posted about hosting holiday parties at (in)courage today. Don’t miss it!

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