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The 9 Steps to Planning the Perfect Christmas

Christmas is everyone’s favourite time of year – many would say that the food, decorations, Christmas music and presents are what help make it so magical. There’s really no better way to get into the spirit of the festive season than by hosting your very own Christmas party!

With Christmas approaching much faster than most of us would like to admit, it’s time to start planning your festive bash. And you can never start too early! Whether you’re hosting a family gathering, work function or just want to celebrate with your friends, there’s a lot to do. It can be easy to lose track of everything you have to organise before the big day, and just how long it will take.

In this guide, we’re going to be sharing the 9 steps to planning the perfect Christmas party, no matter what kind of celebration you’re having. These top tips will help you create an unforgettable event.

1. Choose a Suitable Date

Christmas Day is usually spent with family, so unless your Christmas party is for your close family, December 25th is probably not the best date on which to host it. Similarly, avoid Boxing Day as most families prefer to spend this day relaxing from the chaos of the day before.

A great day for a Christmas party would be a Friday or Saturday evening in December. These days work the best as most of your guests won’t have to work the next day – and Christmas parties simply aren’t the same without the opportunity to have a few drinks and let off some steam.

The most important thing you can do is give yourself plenty of time to plan your Christmas party. At the very least, start planning six months before the event date! That way you have enough time to get everything done and work out how much it will cost.

2. Pick the Perfect Party Venue

You might already know where you want to host your party, but if not, now is the time to decide.
Of course, if you’re hosting the party at your home, this isn’t something you need to worry about. But if you’re booking a venue, you’ll need to do this surprisingly far in advance. Though it sounds far-fetched, many popular party venues often get booked up months in advance for weekends in December.

Some popular types of Christmas party venues include:
1) Hotel function rooms
2) Town and village halls
3) Ballrooms and meeting rooms
4) Private hireable rooms at restaurants and pubs
5) Private rooms at sports clubs, conservative clubs, etc.

Whichever venue you choose, it should be in a convenient location for your guests to travel to, and be large enough to accommodate everyone you’re thinking of inviting.
Be sure to book your venue before you send out the all-important party invitations (more on that now). Otherwise, you’re putting the cart before the horse: you need to make sure the venue is free on your chosen date!

3. Order Personalised Christmas Party Invitations

Many people tend to underestimate the importance of paper party invitations, but they’re really a great way for your friends and family to know about what’s in store! Not only does sending out invites save you from having to phone all of your guests individually with details, they also help set the tone of your party, and create excitement before the big day.

It’s always better to design your own personalised party invitations, rather than picking up a generic pack of invites at a party supply shop. Not only do you not have to write them by hand, but you can choose from a huge range of templates and pick a style that suits the exact theme and aesthetic you’re going for. You can also edit the wording, font and colour scheme easily using our online editor.

It’s good form to let your guests know about your plans well in advance. If you’re hosting an open house that anyone can attend, then send out invites at least three weeks before hand with directions and a map of where you live. If you’re inviting only your family then email them well in advance and make sure they know what to bring.

4. Plan Your Menu Wisely

Christmas is all about indulging, so don’t scrimp on food at your party! If you’re having a buffet, make sure there is plenty of variety to suit different tastes. If you’re going with plated meals, you can’t go wrong with the classic Christmas roast dinner, with turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes and all the trimmings. When it comes to the pudding, a traditional Christmas cake is always a winner – or you could go-all out with a profiterole tower!

You can either make the food yourself – in which case, try to choose dishes that can be prepared in advance, so that you can space out the cooking a little – or hire a caterer to provide the food. This is going to be more expensive, but it’ll take away a lot of stress, so it’s a worthy trade-off.

Importantly, make sure that you accommodate guests with special dietary requirements. If there are any vegetarians or vegans in attendance, ensure they get their share of meat-free dishes – and make sure those on a gluten-free diet don’t miss out either!

You can leave a space on your RSVP cards for your guests to list their allergies, intolerances and preferences. Alternatively, you can add a note at the bottom of your invitation asking guests to contact you if they have any dietary requirements.

5. Serve a Range of Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Christmas is all about having a good time, so don’t forget to provide drinks for everyone! If your venue has a bar, you won’t need to worry about this. But if not, time to start buying and storing your drinks in advance.
A lot of people drink alcohol at Christmas parties, so it’s good to have a range of different options at your guests’ disposal. Consider serving a selection of:

1) Beer
2) Champagne or prosecco
3) Wines (especially mulled wine)
4) Cider (mulled cider is also a great Christmas drink)
5) Spirits (including the classic Irish cream liqueur)
6) Egg nog

It’s always nice to have non-alcoholic options available too. There will be several guests who won’t be drinking – mainly because they’re underage or driving. Make sure to stock your venue with plenty of soft drinks, such as sparkling apple juice, grape juice, and cola.

6. Choose Your Christmas Party Activities

You’re going to need to plan something to do at the party (other than eat and drink). Christmas party activities are a great way to keep everyone entertained. Some examples of Christmas party activities include:

1) Christmas quiz: find out how much your guests know about Christmas. Can they name all of Santa’s reindeer? Do they remember what was gifted on the 8th Day of Christmas? Give a prize to whoever gets the most answers right (like a chocolate Santa)!
2) Dressing up contest: offer a prize to the best-dressed guest (Christmas themed outfits required, of course)
3) White Elephant gift exchange: each guest brings one wrapped present to the party, up to a certain value. Everyone takes turns drawing a present from the pile to open (and keep). Funny and ironic gifts (like ugly Christmas jumpers) are particularly well appreciated!
4) Christmas taboo: as each guest enters the venue, have them take a clothes peg and attach it to their top. Then tell everyone that they aren’t allowed to say the word “Christmas” all night. If anyone is caught saying Christmas, whoever catches them gets to steal their clothes peg. At the end of the night, whoever has the most pegs is the winner!

You could even incorporate some classic parlour games, such as charades, sardines, and “squeak piggy squeak”. If your guests are board game fans, you could even break out the Monpoly (if you dare)!

7. Hire Live Music

A Christmas party wouldn’t be the same without some festive music! If you can spare the cash, find out if there are any local carol singers or live bands that are available on the dates that suit you best, and hire them for an hour or two to entertain your guests.

If live music is out of your budget (or simply not up your street), you could always hire a DJ instead to play the Christmas classics, with some classic rock or pop mixed in. Otherwise, invest in a good sound system and simply set up a playlist to regale you all with festive tunes.

You could even host a Christmas karaoke competition – ideal for once the mulled wine has started flowing and everyone’s feeling a bit “merry”!

8. Plan the Festive Décor

It simply isn’t a Christmas party without gaudy, glittery decorations all around the room. There are lots of different types of Christmas decorations available – you can either buy them or hire them for your event. The great thing is that you’ve probably already got boxes of Christmas gear up in your loft to put to good use!

Of course, a Christmas tree is absolutely essential. It doesn’t need to be a real tree; plastic is perfectly fine, just as long as it’s bedazzled to the hilt with baubles, tinsel and ornaments. Festive wreaths and garlands, to be strung along the walls, are also very popular. Add some fake snow, fake presents and some fairy lights and you’re good to go.
And whatever you do, don’t forget the Christmas crackers! These cheap but cheerful little Christmas necessities should not be underestimated – they’re really fun for children and adults alike. The classic “cracker jokes” cause laughs and groans all round, and there’s no more Christmassy feeling than putting on your paper hat.

Ask your venue whether you can get access the day before (or several hours before) your party. This will give you enough time to set up all the decorations, as well as prepare the food, drink and activities.

9. Organise Transport Home

This step is optional, strictly speaking. But if you know that plenty of your guests are going to want to have a drink at your party, it would be nice of you to organise some way of getting everybody home afterwards. This is a particularly kind gesture if your party is going to be held somewhere “off the beaten track”, or if parking is scarce.

This might be as simple as booking a few taxis in advance, or you could go all-out and hire a coach to drop everyone off. Just make sure to be a responsible host and keep everyone who’s had a drink away from their car keys!

We hope this guide has helped you on your way to planning the perfect Christmas party. When you’re ready to order your Christmas invitations and RSVP cards, head over to 123Print to find a huge range of fully customisable templates, all with