Friday, December 7, 2012

The Ultimate Holiday Entertaining Check List and Guide

This past week, I was working on a new holiday email newsletter for a client and I thought I'd share some of the content on here. I like to include tips and tricks in every email and this particular one was holiday-related. Since the rest of the email focused on renting equipment for holiday parties, I thought I'd include a check list for entertaining. After some research, I ended up with is probably the most ultimate list ever. I dare you to find one list that includes more than this one does! Well, I'd like to believe that I included everything anyone could possibly think of, but there may be something I missed. If so, let me know!

Please add your own hints, tips, experiences to the comments so this can be the absolute best source for holiday entertaining!

A few weeks before your event:

  • Prepare your guest list. Call or send invitations early to give plenty of notice.
  • Decide on a theme or your decorations. Make, buy or borrow centerpieces and accent pieces to tie everything together.
  • Plan your menu. Organize your recipes for easy reference and decide if you'll ask guests to bring anything. Make a list of all the ingredients you'll need and create a timeline for preparing each dish so you'll know what to expect.

Two weeks before your event:

  • Put together a list of rental equipment you'll need. Make sure you have enough seats and tables for dinner. Include extra tables for buffet-style parties. Check on extras such as linens, food storage, serving items, etc.
  • Serving Inventory. Organize all your dishes, glassware, utensils and serving items. Make sure there are enough for your guests and enough for serving your food. 
  • Food Inventory. Put together your grocery list and purchase frozen and non-perishable ingredients. Purchase any wine or liquor and let your guests know what to bring. 

One week before your event:

  • Start food prep. Make food that can be frozen ahead of time so all you'll have to do is thaw and heat. Follow up with guests who are bringing a dish.
  • Stock up on household essentials. Purchase extra linens, cleaning supplies (such as for spills), garbage bags, rags, tissues, and anything else you think you might need.

A few days before your event: 

  • Set the party area. Rearrange furniture if you'll need to accommodate a large amount of people and tables. Designate an area for drinks and/or desserts. Stow away any valuables you may not want ruined/broken. 
  • Specify a place for belongings. Designate an area for your guest's coats and purses by making a space in your closet, cleaning out a bedroom so they can be placed on the bed, or purchasing/borrowing an inexpensive coat or garment rack.
  • Clean and/or de-clutter. Make sure your guests have enough room and be sure the guest bathroom is clean and stocked with fresh towels, tissues and soaps.
  • Prepare table coverings. Gather together tablecloths  table runners and cloth napkins. Wash and iron them if necessary.
  • Finish food prep. Buy any remaining non-perishable food items, beverages and ice. Stock your pantries with anything else that you've used up and place frozen food in the refrigerator to defrost overnight.

One day before the event:

  • Utensil prep. Wash and/or polish silverware, glassware, china, and serving dishes.
  • Deck your tables. Place everything (dishes, utensils, linens decorations, etc.) and cover with a lightweight tablecloth to keep off dust that might collect overnight.
  • Final food run. Purchase any perishable items such as salad greens, other vegetables and fruits, fresh bread, seafood, etc.

The day of the event:

  • Prepare food. Chill all beverages and set out condiments. Make appetizers and the rest of your food.
  • Don't forget to have fun with your family and friends. After all, that's what the holidays are all about!

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