A Stress Free Christmas – Part 5: Christmas Party Invites
Well, the days are getting shorter and colder, so let’s cheer ourselves up a bit with a spot of festive party planning. Once we’ve got the logistics sorted, we’ll be ready to get our invitations out, whether they be formal written invitations or just a casual text.
The Three W’s of Party Planning
There are 3 things that we’re going to decide this week – the what, the who and the when. That is to say, we’re going to decide a date for the do, who to invite and what kind of party it’ll be. Once we have all that sorted, we can get our invitations sent out!
What kind of party?
So the first thing you need to decide (and you may want to refer back to your Christmas Budget for help with this), is what kind of shindig you want to throw. I’m here to help with a few ideas, especially for those who want to keep the budget low.
Christmas Film Night
I love this idea – it’s very simple and great for a small group of people. Pick out a couple of Christmas film classics, stock up on popcorn and set up a fabulous hot chocolate station with jars of marshmallows, chocolate buttons and candy cane. Why not ask guests to bring slippers and then offer them a blanket to keep them cosy when they arrive? This one is perfect if you or your friends have kids – how about starting late afternoon with a family film and hot chocolate and then moving on to your second film with some mulled wine or cider once the kids are in bed?
Christmas Tree Decorating Party
Celebrate with your friends AND get them to help with your decorating at the same time. Everyone’s a winner! Set up your undecorated tree and its lights and then put your baubles etc in bowls around the room for people to choose from. Make sure you offer your hard working friends plenty of refreshment in the form of some delicious Christmas punch, mince pies and nibbles. You’ll probably find they’ll be more productive with a good Christmas playlist in the background too…
Christmas Pot Luck Party
This is an easy-peasy way to celebrate with a large group of friends. Ask guests to each bring along a party dish of their choice and then you can all settle back and enjoy the fruits of their labour!
Christmas Secret Santa Party
This is similar to the pot luck party but instead of food, ask guests to bring along a gift (it’s best to provide them with a budget too – say, £10) and then pop them all in a box and get everyone to pick one out (making sure it’s not their own of course!) A few Christmas drinks and nibbles too and you’ve got yourself a great little get together.
Christmas Wrapping Party
This is a fab way of getting one of your Christmas jobs done, whilst having a blast at the same time! Invite a few friends to come over with the presents that they need to wrap and some contribution to the wrapping equipment (paper, string, ribbon, bows and so on). You can share wrapping tips as well as wrapping gear! To make it even easier on yourself, you could also ask guests to bring a Christmas snack which you can then assemble and all share
Christmas Nibbles Party
If you want to invite lots of people but you don’t have the budget for a big meal for a crowd then ask people over for informal drinks and nibbles. Just pick 3 or 4 finger foods that are cheap and easy to prepare (and mince pies really ought to be among them!) and then make a jug or two of your favourite Christmas drinks (mulled wine or cider are great traditional choices). Pick a Christmas play list, put up a few festive decorations and by Jove, you’ve got yourself a party!
Christmas Dinner Party
If you want to go all out and give your friends a fancy-schmancy night then why not do a full three course spread? Pick a festive menu (you could even use it as a trial run for Christmas day itself!), decorate your table and house with whatever lights your (nativity) candle and get things started with some Champagne cocktails. Why not make it black tie and make it feel like a really special occasion?
Who and how many you invite will depend on the type of party you’ve decided on. A film night works best for just a small handful of people, whereas a Christmas nibbles party is perfect for a crowd. When planning who to invite, here are a few things to consider:
Will everyone fit?
Sounds really obvious – and it is! Don’t invite 12 people round for a sit down dinner if your table will only seat 6. You get the idea…
Is there an odd one out?
You want everyone to feel relaxed and to enjoy themselves so make sure you haven’t invited someone who doesn’t know anyone else (unless, no one knows each other – which holds its own risks!) or one single person amidst a crowd of couples
Does everyone get on?
Again, pretty obvious. If you’ve invited John and Sarah from next door then maybe don’t invite John’s ex, Jane from down the road! ;0)
Are children welcome?
Speaking as someone with children myself, it is so awkward when you are invited somewhere and you’re not sure if it’s just you and hubby or the whole family who are being asked. If you are inviting people with kids then state clearly on your invite whether you’re expecting them to come too! Equally, if you are including children, then make sure your party is child friendly by including fun activities for them and some tasty food & soft drinks
Will anyone need to sleep over?
If you’re inviting friends who live a long way away then the chances are, they may require a bed for the night. Make sure you don’t overbook yourself and end up with more people staying than you have beds! Also, make sure you include breakfast etc in your budget if people will be staying the night
Now you know what kind of party you’re throwing and who you’re inviting, this should be an easier question to answer. There are just a couple of considerations for you to ponder.
Week night or Weekend?
For the most part, people will prefer to attend your shindig at the weekend so they don’t have to worry about work the next day, but there may be occasions when you feel a week night get together would be more appropriate – don’t count this out! Something like a film night or a Christmas Present Wrapping party can work very well during the week.
Don’t double book yourself or others!
I’m full of obvious statements today aren’t I? Still, it’s worth saying. Don’t expect someone to attend your Christmas Tree Decorating Party if it’s actually their birthday – and for that matter, don’t expect your mutual friends to either!
Remember it’s a Christmas Party
I know we’re planning in advance but this is a Christmas Party so December dates are probably more appropriate. Anything earlier and you risk looking a bit eccentric!
Hurrah! We’ve got ourselves a reet good (as my Yorkshire hubby would say) little party planned. Now all that’s left to do is to invite our pals. These days, unless you’re planning a wedding or Baptism, people tend to use texts or social media or just word of mouth to invite people. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you feel like making things a bit more memorable, then why not send out written invites? It will make the whole thing seem more special and everyone loves to get non-bill related post! Whichever type of invitation you choose then remember to include the following:
WHO is invited – don’t forget to specify whether you’re expecting children or not
WHERE the party is – obvs
WHEN the party is – ‘Well duh!’ I hear you cry! Yes of course, you need to put the date of the party, but don’t forget to also specify times and make allowances for people to be late. If you’re planning a meal for 8pm, then don’t make this the time you invite people to arrive. Equally, if you’re expecting people to clear off by 10pm, then the best way to achieve this is to SAY so on your invite. If you’re happy for the night to go on in to the wee hours then something like ‘8 till late’ helps to make that clearer to people so they don’t feel like they’re out-staying their welcome.
Dress Code – you don’t want to be sitting there in your cocktail dress and have all your guests turn up in jeans do you? Then tell them what you’re expecting! Fancy dress? Casual? Smart? Black tie? It’s up to you, but give them warning 🙂
What should they bring? If you’re planning a Pot Luck Party or Secret Santa Party then don’t forget to tell people on the invite! Remember to give a budget and some idea of theme if there is one. Alternatively, you might just want to ask them to bring a bottle.
RSVP – It’s important for you to know in advance who is coming so that you can plan your food and drink accordingly so let people know how to respond and when to respond by.
You’ve done it! Your party is planned and your guests invited 🙂 In a few weeks we’ll be putting in the final stages of our party planning – the food, the mood and the outfit 🙂
Hosting an easy Christmas Party – by Martha Stewart
Ultimate Christmas Party Planner – by styleathome.com
Have your say
Which is your favourite Christmas Party idea? Do you have any others to share? Please do get in touch on the comments section of this post!
Take me to Part 6 – Christmas Shopping!