I love Christmas but sometimes organising things is hard work isn’t it! Here is a guest post from the lovely Laura who loves organising things like Christmas parties so she has shared some tips with me for my readers. If you like her post do pop over and have a read of her blog too.
Not An Easy Feat
When it comes to planning a Christmas Party, it’s not as simple as it might sound. There are so many different things to take into consideration! It’s a good idea to have a plan – I use my bullet journal to plan anything, but a notebook or Google Docs document will do the trick. Divide up the elements of the party, and plan around them. You can use different pages, mind maps, spreadsheets – whatever makes it easier for you!
I’m going to walk you through everything you need to throw the perfect family Christmas Party this year, and give you some inspiration for food, games, and decorating!
Choosing The Date + Time
You might be throwing your party on Christmas Eve, which means you’ve still got a good few weeks left to plan everything. As of today, it’s six weeks until Christmas, so still not very long!
If you’ve decided on a different day – usually to make sure all of the family are able to make it, then write this at the top of your plan. Everything needs to come together in time for this date, so it’s got to be visible! As we are planning a family party, then I would suggest something like 12pm to start. This gives any family members the time to travel over, and means you’ll have plenty of time to get the last things sorted out in the morning.
Have a chat with prominent people within the family – parents etc and the people that live further away, and ensure everyone can attend. It’s difficult because you’ll never please everyone – go for the majority and people that really want to be there will have to change their plans! It can be tough but stick to your guns; there’s only so much you can do. There’s a limited amount of weekends between now and the run up to Christmas – you have to make the best decision you can.
Next, you need to work out exactly who you will be inviting to the party. I use a checklist for this – I write down who I need to invite, who I’ve sent an invite to, and what their response was.
Think about the family in groups if it makes it easier – start with your own family, then their partners, children and any close friends. Then move on to the next branch of the family!
Don’t forget – this is your party, and you only have to invite the people that you want to invite. Don’t feel pressured into inviting anyone and everyone. You can easily explain to people that you had to put a limit on the party due to house space, and arrange to see them separately if needs be. On my blog, All In My Head, I’ve written about creating the perfect Christmas Planner. Using it, you can keep track of all of your commitments and make sure you don’t miss things!
Once you’re happy with the list, it’s time to send out the invites. The way you do this totally depends on you and how things are normally done within your family. It might be that you send out traditional invites via the post to all the invitees. Or you could send out texts or instant messages to people. Another great way to keep track of everything is to use a Facebook event. It will help you keep track of all the responses, and you can also use it to chat to people about the event as it draws near.
It’s entirely up to you, and whatever works best for you and your family. The most important thing to remember is keeping track of everything, because you’ll need to know numbers when it comes to other elements of planning!
Theme + Decorations
When it comes to planning a party, no matter what kind, it’s always a good idea to have a rough theme in mind. It will help with no end of things as you go along, and stop you ending up feeling overwhelmed!
With a family party, it can be difficult because you’re going to be catering to children and adults. The theme here should be as simple as possible – to avoid overworking yourself, and so that as many people as possible will be happy!
If you’re already going to have all of your Christmas decorations in place when the party happens, which is more than likely, then it’s simple to just use the colours and themes from your current Christmas decorations. You can build on the Christmas theme, and use it for napkins, tablecloths, table decorations etc.
It’s a good idea to have all of these things prepared well in advance. You can put everything in a cardboard box and simply get everything out the night before the party. That way you won’t be scrabbling around for all the bits when it comes to it – you will be ready to go.
As much as can be done beforehand the better – it can be a lot of work so call in reinforcements if you need to.
This is one of the best parts of a Christmas party for me!
There are two main options when it comes to providing food for a party. You can either do a buffer or a sit down dinner. It depends on how many people you’re inviting, but I wouldn’t advise doing any more than 20 people for a sit down dinner.
If you are doing a buffet, then there’s a really simple way of making it work for everyone, whilst reducing the amount of hard work you have to put in on top of everything else you are doing.
Ask each family to bring something to add to the buffet. It might be their favourite flapjacks or a plate of their most coveted sandwiches! Whatever they bring will be of massive use to you, and will also make sure that everyone has something they like! At our family parties it’s a tradition that my Nana used to make something we just call ‘chocolate stuff’ but is known as Polish Cake. When she passed away, my Grandad took over making it, and whilst he never really baked before, it’s such an important part of Christmas, especially to me!
Having a little help with the food can take a lot of pressure of on the day, and you’ll really appreciate the thought that people put into it. Try and use the invitation as a way to let everyone know that they’ll need to bring something!
If you’re doing a sit down dinner, then you’ll need to focus on that on the day of the party, and may need help running the party. Get as much food prep done beforehand as you possibly can, and have things in the fridge ready to go. You could ask guests to bring desserts, which will help massively.
Write a shopping list and make sure you have everything in advance. Check your cupboards and freezer to see whether you already have some of the items you need, and check off the list. Preparation is key here!
It might not be for everyone, but I think planning family party games is such an important part of any Christmas party! It will help give the children things to do, and will give some kind of flow to the party. You can easily get these all set up beforehand, and just have a brief itinerary so that you can organise how each one will work.
Mix it up with different types of games to keep everyone happy, and don’t get disheartened if people aren’t interested to begin with. It can take time, but eventually people will be having a laugh!
Don’t forget to get the adults involved! It can end up being a lot of fun, and people will remember your party for a long time if you pull it off. Certainly more exciting than just sitting around talking, especially for the children.
You can use Pinterest and Google for great party ideas. I use Pinterest a lot; I create a secret board for party ideas, and pin anything I find useful to it! It can be amazingly handy to have a long list of ideas to work from, and you can even alter them so that they fit in with your family.
Here are a couple of ideas that we use at our family parties:
How Green You Are – this one probably goes under a lot of different names, and I have no idea whether this is the original name! The premise is simple – decide on a small, noticeable item that will be used. One person will leave the room, and the rest of the people take their time to hide the small object somewhere within the room. The person then comes back into the room and tries to find the object. The only clue they will get is from the rest of the people singing ‘How green you are’ – at a whisper if they’re far away, and louder until almost shouting when they’re on top of it! This can be a lot of fun, and kids end up giggling and shouting their heads off [and adults too sometimes…]!
Pass The Parcel – an old classic that can be made to fit in by using Christmas-themed wrapping paper. For an added element of fun, put chocolate coins between each layer, so that each person is a winner!
Christmas Tree Decorations Guessing Game – really simple to set up, and you can even give a prize to the winner! Simply count your decorations as you put them on the tree – and have people guess when they enter the party. Either keep a list or get people to put slips of paper with their name in a box. Check towards the end of the party, and it can be a cute game for everyone to get involved with!
Don’t Stress – It’s Supposed To Be Fun!
At the end of the day, don’t stress too much when it comes to planning a family Christmas party. At the end of the day it’s supposed to be fun, and that goes for you too! Aim to have help on the day and beforehand, get as many things prepped in advance as you can, and relax.
It’s Christmas! Having fun with your family is what it’s all about.
About The Author: Laura Jacques
Hi everyone! I’m Laura and I run All In My Head, a hub of information + tactics for those wanting to grow their blog and become a successful entrepreneur. I write about content, social media, marketing, monetisation and general blogger life! AIMH also includes lots of posts about makeup + skincare, because I love to encourage people to run their business and look good doing it.
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