Party Basics: Things to Remember When Hosting a Holiday Party

Now that some major Holidays are on the horizon, it’s time to begin planning for the years most festive celebrations. Whether you are having an intimate romantic dinner for two — or a 20 person cocktail party — it’s always nice to be prepared.

Even if you must prepare a checklist to ensure you have everything you need...it will be more than helpful.

• Guest list with rsvp’s
• Grocery list and recipes
• Beverages for all ages
• The right playlist on your iPod
• well groomed space to host in.

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1. Gather together your flatware, linens, candlesticks and place settings. Make sure you have everything washed, cleaned — and most of all — the right amount for all your guests (don't forget some extras for multiple courses or dropped spoons!).

2. Place cards should always be considered when you’re hosting a large dinner party of mixed crowds. You would hate for your Aunt Helen to mistake your Boss for your best friend’s husband, right? It’s a subtle way to introduce yourself and often make good conversation starters.

3. A centerpiece to any table should be full of color, grab the attention of the room and most of all should be festive. I love this squash centerpiece above, with the clean white dishes and linens. Very elegant, classic and will warm up the table immediately!

4. When considering which beverages to serve, consider that not everyone prefers wine with dinner. Whether you’re serving a cabernet or a pinot grigio, it might be helpful to have champagne, a bottle of vodka or gin and some beer handy. For the underage , make sure you to supply sodas, juices, and when I was a kid I always did love a fancy Shirley Temple. Bottled water both flat and sparkling go nicely with orange and lime slices. Also consider these few things when preparing your menu; are there any vegetarian or vegan guests? Do any of your guest have food allergies? Will anyone need a kosher prepared meal? We don’t want anyone left offended, sick or starving at your party.

5. Breaking out a nice dinner set for special occasions always feels a bit more formal. It doesn’t have to be your great grandparents' china, but splurging on some “special” plates and glasses is worth it. Plus, do you want to serve your special holiday roast on the same plate you cook Monday’s spaghetti on every week?

Images: Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Martha Stewart Living, West Elm, Food and Wine