Plan your holiday party like a pro

Author: Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects,
Published On: Dec 17 2013 10:04:41 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 18 2013 06:20:00 AM EST

If you've ever thrown a holiday party, you know it can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be.

Barbara Lazaroff – wife of Chef Wolfgang Puck – has hosted all kinds of events.  She says a great party starts with you.

First comes the décor.

“You have beautiful things you have collected over the years, and use them on your table,” Lazaroff explained.

You can fill up vases with your favorite ornaments and use wrapping paper and ribbons to dress up your table setting. Lazaroff’s collection of ceramic shoes become soup bowls during the holidays.

Next is the food. Try giving simple favorites holiday flair: a cheese platter can become a Christmas tree, popcorn turns festive, donuts are transformed to snowmen, and the classic pigs in a blanket can be arranged like a wreath. For drinks, plan three bottles of wine for every four people.

To make a party memorable, have everyone write a letter with a wish for the coming year. Place in a sealed envelope and mail them to your guests with next year’s invites.

And don’t forget about budget. On average, 18 to 34-year-olds spend $310 on a holiday party, while those 55 and older spend about $780.

The last tip: try not to stress!

“Don’t be intimidated; after all, it’s your friends!” Lazaroff said.

Here’s another good tip: don’t attempt top-to-bottom housecleaning before your party. Focus on the rooms that guests will be in most and close the doors to others. But make sure you give special attention to your bathroom, as that’s the one room guests will examine and judge the cleanliness of your house by.

Additional Information:

It’s now a staple of the festive season: the holiday party.  Whether it’s an office holiday party, or a tacky holiday sweater party, the holidays are a time for getting together with family and friends to celebrate.  But, planning and hosting a holiday party can be stressful.  Here are some ways you can avoid the stress, and just enjoy the party.