Mama’s Tips for Hosting Holiday Parties

Merry Blogmas and welcome to Day 9 of the 12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza. We’ve had so much fun blogging about all things Christmas! Week 2 is only going to get better! We still have a Linky party to come as well as our 2nd giveaway TOMORROW on December 12th. Check below for details!

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Also thanks to everyone who participated in our 1st Giveaway. If you still want to enter, click on the link below to do so!

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Here is the lowdown on the goodies for the 2nd giveaway:

The total value of all of the prizes is $364.72!!!

Including: (Click on the links to be taken to the etsy shops/stores)

Retro Metro Weekender from Thirty-One
1-Year Netflix Streaming 
5 Days of Shakeology
Freetoes (3 pairs)
Nookums Toy
Mermaid toy
Kids Bop CD
Five Christmas Penguins book
Twilight Buddie

Be sure to come back tomorrow to enter the giveaway.

You can check us out on Twitter. We will be using #merryblogmas!

You can also find all of our posts on Pinterest: 12 Days of Christmas 2014

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As a mama of twins/preschoolers/a mom in general, I can tell you from experience that hosting any type of party is hectic. Birthday parties for a little girl times two is enough to make Mary Poppins lose her cool. Seriously parties are the pits sometimes. There’s the cleaning and the decorating and the socializing and the opening of presents and the cleaning and the food and… well you get the picture. And a holiday party is like double the stress of a normal party or a birthday party.

Luckily my mom has been such a gracious host of many a family gathering over the years. I’m sure that I eventually inherit the parties and hosting. So through experience and observation and a few “pinspired” ideas, I want to give you this mama’s tips for how to host a successful holiday party.

1) Clean Yo Nasty House

Like really clean your house. It doesn’t matter if you’re just having your parents or your siblings over, you will have a mess at the end of the party. A huge mess more than likely. So clean up really well beforehand. People also want a nice clean house to party in. Nobody wants to see your laundry or dirty toilet. And this includes the bedrooms. Your guests will need a “coat room” or maybe a room to change a diaper or tell a secret or take a phone call. They may need to use your bedroom for a bit. And nothing is more embarrassing than your brother’s new girlfriend or your MIL slipping into a room that is littered with your dirty skivvies. Clean it all up.

2) Designate a Junk Area

Sort of forget that last sentence above. If you have an area, at my house and my mom’s house it’s the laundry room, that can be off limits to the guests, use it. Clean the majority of the house, but designate an area that will hold dirty dishes, the trash until it can be taken out, clothes that didn’t make it to the washing machine or drawers or any last minute things like boxes or containers that were brought in with the meals. Shut the door to that sucker and clean it up AFTER the party. By after I mean the day after. Speaking of day after…

3) Put off the After Party Clean Up

No one wants a host that spends the entire time cleaning up. You miss out on the fun and enjoyment of the party. I saw a great idea somewhere in Pinterest land when I was researching how to host Thanksgiving and completely forgot to pin it. But it’s a pretty simple idea (maybe that is why it wasn’t pinned). Buy some of those dish pans from Dollar Tree and pile up all of the dirty dishes in the pan busboy-style and store them in your junk area. They aren’t dirtying up the counters and the sink and you can wash them when the guests leave. Most likely your guests will pitch in to clear tables and store food, so it shouldn’t take long. But for the love of Christmas, don’t spend your time loading/unloading/washing the dishes when you can be enjoying your guests. It can wait.

4) Paper It

When possible, use paper products. Save your trees another day. I know it isn’t environmentally friendly, but it really is so much easier to throw away the plates and cups and silverware. Plus it prevents broken dishes and lost forks. My nanny used paper plates for Thanksgiving/Christmas and my mom uses them and I will as well when it’s my turn to take over. It saves you a lot of stress and clean up. Okay now that cleaning up is out of the way…

5) Kid’s Room

Don’t leave the kiddies out. They will need to be patient and wait to open gifts. This is nearly impossible for them. Make sure there is a place, a safe place without valuables, that is just for the little ones. Make sure it is clean and stocked with toys. Let them play and have fun with their family and friends. This will keep them busy until present/meal time.

6) Give an Advance

Don’t assume that everyone knows when and where your party is. With the rush of the season, it’s hard to keep up with all of the parties and events. Give an advance to your guests a few weeks out that way they are prepared but aren’t told so ahead of time that they forget again. Don’t worry about paper invites. Facebook/The Good Ol Internet have made invites (with the exception of wedding invites of course) unnecessary. If you want to send out an invite, create one online and send it via email or Facebook. You can make a cute little collage with Picmonkey that your people WILL LOVE. And if you have people who have ridden the “fashionably late” trend well into the “out of style” and just plain late stage, tell them that the party starts an hour before it actually does that way when they show up “an hour late,” they’re are actually on time.

7) Delegate, Don’t Dominate, the Menu

Good leaders and hosts delegate responsibilities to their family and friends. Most people EXPECT to have to bring something to a party. I really can’t stand when someone tells me “oh don’t worry about bringing anything.” Then I feel awkward or like they don’t like my food or like I’m a charity case or something. People want to contribute. So “delegate” the menu. This will also give people a chance to bring their favorites. My cousin is a vegetarian so it gives his wife the opportunity to cook something that he will like at an often “meat dominated” party. Plus it is less stuff that you have to do on the day of the party.

8) Drawing Names and Setting Limits

If you are buying presents and have a huge family, draw names. In other words, put everyone’s name in a hat and draw for the number in your family. We draw 5 names for the 5 people in our family and buy gifts for those people. It’s way cheaper and less stressful this way. Also set a limit and make it reasonable. $20-$30 is plenty to spend on extended family members and friends. Our family has children to buy for so the less we have to spend on other family members, the better for our bank account. If you have a really big family, consider doing an exchange just for the kids. I look forward to seeing my family more than gifts anyways, but kids are still kids and obviously still want presents. And kids are way more fun to buy for!

9) Have Fun

Don’t stress so much about the party. As long as you are together no one will care if you ran out of salsa or slightly burnt the ham. The party isn’t about the food or house or decor or gifts, it’s about the people.

10) Pray

I love that everyone in the family at the party prays before the meal. It’s a reminder that we are hosting the party at Christmastime to celebrate the birth and love of Jesus. The party started in the manger. Before you party in your own home, take time to remember the true gift of Christmas.

Hope you all have fun hosting your parties this year. May God bless you this Christmas and may your houses be warm and full of love.

Read about hosting tips from the other 11 bloggers of the 12 days of Christmas:

Girl on the Move

Motherhood and Merlot

The American Mama

Blooming in Bedlam

Lisa Kerr: Life, Chronicled

Inspired Housewife

Verified Mom

Mommy’s Bundle

STL Motherhood

Babies, Bloodhounds & Booze

Goofball Mommy

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