Hosting Your First Holiday Party? Here’s How To Do It Without Losing Your Sanity

So, you’re hosting your first holiday party. You’re excited to debut your hosting skills for your friends and family, but also overwhelmed at the prospect of everything that needs to get done.

By Diana Clarke3 min read
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Hosting is a wonderful way for you to bring together those you love. While many of us are living a fast-paced and virtual life, a holiday gathering is the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy meaningful face-to-face interaction with the people we care about. Good on you for rising up to the task, your efforts will go a long way.

Whether this is your first time hosting or you’re a veteran hostess, here are some of our tips for staying organized while hosting your holiday party. 

Remember the Meaning Behind It

At every step of the process, you want to remember the meaning behind your holiday party. Ask yourself: What is the reason for your gathering? Whether you want to bring your family together for a memorable experience or have a good time with some friends over a couple of drinks, keeping your ‘why’ in mind will help you remember the bigger picture while you’re sorting out all the small details. 

Plan Ahead

The best way to remain sane while hosting your first holiday party is to plan ahead. Anything you can do in advance from cleaning to decorating to food prep will make everything run smoother the day of. 

The first thing you’ll need to do is set a date and let your guests know in advance as far out as possible. People are busy during the holidays, and it’s courteous to give lots of notice. This doesn’t have to be formal, you can simply send some feelers over text to make sure everyone is available and saves the date. 


The next thing on your list to think about is the menu. Make an extensive grocery list and make sure everything is out of the freezer in time to thaw! Prepare as much of the food as you can before the day of, whether that’s chopping vegetables or making dessert. 

Make use of the tools you have in the kitchen (hello, slow cooker). There’s no need to try an extensive, complicated, new recipe that you’ve never tried before to impress your guests. Stick to something you know, preferably something you’ve made many times before that you know you can nail. 

Deep Clean

If you need some motivation to do a deep clean of your home, having guests over is it. A clean and decluttered space is probably the most important step to making your guests feel comfortable. Beyond the prep, consider your clean-up after the party. Empty your dishwasher beforehand so you can fill it up as you go, and use disposables where you can to make the cleanup easier for you. 

Once you have food, invites, and cleaning covered, you’ll have other miscellaneous details that you can cover in advance such as the theme, décor, and music. 

Being a Gracious Host

Beyond cooking, cleaning, and decorating, being a gracious host will set the emotional tone for your party. Even more important than getting all the details right is having the right attitude.

Warm Welcome

A warm welcome will go a long way. Greet your guests at the door and offer to take their coat or give them a place to put their purse or bag. Lead them to where the other guests are. Offer a beverage, especially water, and have lots of appetizers for when they first arrive. Make sure they have a place to sit and are comfortable.

As the hostess, you have the opportunity to connect others. Make sure everyone is introduced and that no one feels left out. Try to read the room and if you can sense that anyone is not enjoying themselves, think about a conversation starter that could get them connected with another guest or ask them to help you with something to get them involved. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Accept or Ask for Help

At this point, you’ve probably done so much prep work. If someone offers to bring something or help you, let them. Your guests will be appreciative of all you’ve done for them and would be more than happy to bring cheese for the charcuterie board or wash a couple of dishes after dinner. 

On that note, accept any gifts or hostess notes graciously. A simple “thank you” can go a long way. When your guests leave at the end of the night, see them out the door and thank them for coming.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

When something inevitably doesn’t go as planned, let it roll off you. Remember that you’re creating a comfortable, memorable experience that brings others together. It doesn’t have to be a flawless performance. So don’t sweat the small stuff, and don’t let one detail throw you. Even if something does go wrong, it’s unlikely that any guests will make a big fuss. It might even make for a funny story.

Closing Thoughts

Your guests will absorb the tone that you set, so it’s in your power to create the kind of environment you want your guests to experience. Plan ahead, so that no logistical issues get in the way of the party at the last minute. Finally, remember to have fun. If you’re having fun, your guests will have fun. Isn’t that what a good party is about?

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