Advent No.5: Christmas Party Planning

{Today we have a guest blogger! Dyanna Groves, She’s friendly, she’s kind and she happens to be my sister! She’s also a great chef and TV producer! And you can possibly follow her on Pinterest & Instagram! Have fun reading, Ryn}

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, well, at least in some parts of the country. Here in North Texas is an exception! However, looks or no looks, Christmas is quickly approaching, and I’m so excited about it!

So, I love hosting parties! And I’m going to share with you some tips to hosting a great one.

First off, prepare!
Preparation is the key, no doubt. Whenever I host a party or cater an event, I have lots of lists. The more you think through and plan on the front end, the easier the process will actually be.
So, for me, after I make the guest list, I make a list for the menu, and another for the ingredients, including specific amounts.
Then there is a list for the dishes and serving ware I want to use. Along with that are the decorations, music, and timeline.
Be detailed. Think it through in your head early on and make a list.  With the timeline, I do everything from things that can be prepped days ahead to putting ice in glasses the moment before guests arrive.
Although I use my smartphone for almost everything, I personally prefer to have these lists on paper.
However, if you’re married to your smartphone and need a little help getting organized, I have some app suggestions for you!

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AnyList is a Godsend for shopping lists. You can have multiple lists. You can customize them with categories or even people’s names, such as for Christmas shopping. You can specify which store you will purchase from and filter your list based on that store. You can share your list with others. Seriously, it’s awesome!
No, it’s not free, but I feel it’s worth it!
AnyList – Grocery Shopping List, Recipe Manager & Meal Planning Calendar by Purple Cover, Inc.

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Another great project, or par-tay, management app is Things. You can create separate projects and then create a to-do list within each project. You can also expand each to-do to have notes or recipes with it. It also can link to your iPhone Reminders and automatically add them. Honestly, I don’t love the look of it, but the function is pretty great.
Things by Cultured Code GmbH & Co. KG

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Another app that I can not even express how great I think it is would be Paper. Oh my goodness! It recently was released for phone compatibility, after having an iPad drawing and design app for a couple years. And they knocked it out of the park. It has a great, clean look and exceptional functionality. The benefit to Paper is that you can group photos into projects, and even notate what it is about each photo you like. Say you are hosting this great Christmas party and you found floral decorations on Pinterest, have an idea you want to draw out for your chalkboard, saw serving plate ideas in Vogue magazine, and the dress you want to wear off Etsy. You can draw your ideas and add all of those photos into the project you create in Paper and have them all in one place.
And as a side note, the Pencil stylus that is created by them is superb. Check out the gold one!

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Here’s the link to the app:
Paper – Notes, Photo Annotation, and Sketches by FiftyThree by FiftyThree, Inc.

Okay, enough about apps, back to parties!
Here are my few tips about a successful party:
1. Obviously, prepare.
2. Have pleasant music. Music sets the mood, so choose wisely.
3. If you have a dishwasher, make sure it is empty prior to party time. You’ll be happier when it comes time to load it.
4. Empty your trash cans and lower your toilet seats. Nobody wants to see overflowing trash or into the toilet. I know it sounds strange, but trust me. Oh, and please have plenty of toilet tissue on hand.
5. Prepare or purchase a variety of food. Unless you know your guest’s preferences well, plan for a variety of food options. Include ones that the healthiest of the healthy would like, and ones that the Holiday traditionalist would indulge in.
6. Decorations are subjective. Don’t feel like you have to “Keep up with the Jones’.” Be cool with your style. If you like to go all out, do it! Otherwise, use what you already have and make it festive.
7. Most importantly, enjoy yourself. One of the reasons to plan ahead so much is so that you don’t have to be thinking during the party. Plan ahead to enjoy your time with your guests. Relax, it helps them to enjoy themselves as well.

Thanks for Reading!
Sincerely, Dyanna

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