November 6, 2012

Craft Your Holiday: Planning Made Easy

 According to the Christmas countdown clock, there are 48 days left until Christmas. Only 48 days! So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it

Aside from deciding who's naughty and who's nice, there's so much to think about, so much to plan for, so many wonderful decorations to dig out and put up. (I sound like an elf) With the help of Ellinee Journal, I printed out a Christmas giving planner to keep organized.

In addition to finding the perfect gifts, we're planning a family holiday party! The best parties are ones with the right balance of personal touch, great music and fun stuff to do (especially if you're including children.) It goes without saying great food and delicious drinks are essential.

Here's a few tips on planning a party without going bezerk:
Merry Maids
Plan in Advance: 
Don't sweat the little stuff like cleaning. Hire someone to clean it's truly worth the investment.
Decide your menu. Keep it simple. Create a specialty  non-alcohol drink such as a delicious punch or hot cider.

Martha Stewart Mixers
Be Direct:
Preparing a full menu is a lot of work. If someone asks, "What can I bring?" Tell them. Be specific. Decide in advance what items you can get help with. Alcohol and desserts are great items for people. They travel well, are affordable and can be made or store-bought. Each person should make a unique contribution. One person can bring a vodka mixer, another a bottle white wine, another red wine, etc. Make a list of what you'll need and ask accordingly.

Creating a music playlist is crucial for a good great party. But creating one can be very time consuming. Ask someone who knows a thing or two about music to create a party tunes compilation. My go-to person is my honey. He has a wide range of musical interests and a keen sense of knowing what other people like. Playing music only you might like might not get everyone in the mood, it's important to play a mix of classics and something new. If you don't have a go-to guy here's a few online resources:

I've been to parties where the only people I know are the hosts. This can be tricky when the hosts are busy entertaining everyone and they only have a few minutes here and there to catch up. Being left to talk with people you don't know can sometimes feel awkward. A great way to engage people in a common denominator is with a game. (It might sound hokey but with a few drinks to loosen everyone up, these games can be a hoot and a way to get to know people in a new light)
Good old fashion truth or dare
Two Truths and a Lie - Have each person-anonymously- write two truths and one lie on a piece of paper about themselves, fold it and put it in a bowl. The host then randomly pulls them out one at a time and reads them to the group. Now the group must guess BOTH the person and the lie. It is best if they try to identify the person first.
Red Lipstick!
When to Get Ready:
This might be advice only women can appreciate. When to get ready for guests to arrive. I've struggled with this and usually wait until everything is done until I begin getting ready. The problem is, what happens if guests arrive early or I'm running behind schedule? Happens all the time. What I've learned is to do either hair or make-up first, whichever takes the most time before you begin the major tasks (cooking and setting up). Then when you're mid-way through getting stuff done, go and finish getting dolled-up. There's always time to excuse yourself, once guests arrive, to refresh or retouch.