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A Cleaner World Blog

Preparing for Holiday Parties

Christmas is less than three weeks away, and I am nowhere close to being prepared.  When I am already feeling overwhelmed, my husband will throw a wrench in at the last minute by suggesting we have a few folks from the office over for cocktails or a family from school over for dinner. 

Over the years, I have gone from cleaning the entire house to only worrying about the rooms our guests will see and realizing that everything does not have to be homemade.  Below are a few tips that have helped me retain my sanity during this crazy time of year.

  • It’s all about planning.  Always plan and prepare in reverse.  Start with the time that everything needs to be ready and then work backwards, allowing for a 30-minute cushion in case something goes wrong or needs extra time.  Additionally, do as much ahead of time as possible.
  • If someone offers to bring something, always say yes.  When guests offer to bring something, that means they want to contribute.  If they have a specialty and it works with the menu, ask them to bring it.  If not, be specific about what they can make or purchase to compliment the meal while cutting down on what you must prepare.
  • Delegate to family members, especially if it is an event for or with them.  Many hands make lighter work, but it is usually best to prepare a specific list so there is no confusion.
  • Everything does not have to be homemade.  Once I saw my Aunt Joyce use a premade pie crust, I knew that was a permanent shortcut.  Plus, when Ina Garten has a dinner party, she only cooks two dishes, and she assembles the rest.
  • Make clean up easy.  It has become much more socially acceptable to use high-quality disposable plastic plates and cutlery for cocktail parties and larger events.  Instead of trying to do your table linens and such, consider outsourcing that to a professional, and if something is spilled on your rug, A Cleaner World can handle that for you too.

After the partying is over, think about things that went wrong and things that went well and make a few notes for future events.  Then sit back, relax, and put your feet up. 

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