The Ultimate Checklist for Hosting a Holiday Party

The Ultimate Checklist for Hosting a Holiday Party

You’re hosting a holiday party? What fun! Think of Lands’ End like your Personal Assistant. We’ll help you get it all done. Let’s look at the ultimate checklist for hosting a holiday party.

Guestlist and Invitations

Start by putting the guest list together a month in advance, if you can. This is a great activity to do while sipping a cup of tea and relaxing in your women’s loungewear. Unless you're hosting a small party, make a master list where you can have everything in one place. Capture everyone’s name and contact information that you'd like to invite. If you have a partner, bring them into the conversation early. You’ll want to make sure that you don’t overlook anyone. If you're inviting friends or family that you haven’t seen in a while, make sure to update the contact list with any changes.

What's the goal for your party? Do you want to reconnect with old friends? Invite everyone you know to an open house while wearing your favorite Christmas sweater and favorite black skirt? Have an intimate dinner party with your best friends? Different parties will have different goals. Pro tip: an easy way to host two parties is to have them back-to-back on the same weekend, invite different groups, and use the same menu for both parties. You’ll just need to tidy up between the two.

Get the invitations out two or three weeks in advance if possible. Everyone gets busy around the holidays. Either send fun invitations by snail mail or send electronic invitations. Just make sure they'll get there. About a week in advance, circle back with anyone who hasn’t responded yet to check if they will be able to make it. Knowing an accurate headcount makes everything easier on the day of the party.

Food and Drinks

Start by deciding how casual or formal your holiday party will be and if you'll be hosting a sit-down meal or just having a buffet available for your guests. Pro tip: buffets are easier and encourage more mingling. Decide if you'll serve alcohol, and if so, what types. For a super casual party, you can make it BYOB. Having a couple of types of wine available is also nice. If you want to go for a full bar and you or your partner is good at mixing drinks, go for it. Just make sure that everyone is safe to drive.

Get out your reusable grocery bags and extra-large totes. Make or buy everything ahead of time and calculate refrigerator and freezer space. Appetizers from miniature quiche to stuffed mushrooms are available in quantity and frozen from your favorite retailer. Have a variety of foods available, including desserts. A week before your holiday party, sit down and figure out what schedule you'll need for cooking and baking foods before serving them. This may sound silly, but a specific sequence for cooking and presenting food saves you time and makes your party hosting much more relaxed. As much as possible, tidy up as you go.


If you've decorated for another holiday earlier in the month, you can always transition your décor for your party. Hanukah or Christmas décor will transition into New Year’s Eve by changing up just a few things. Focusing on winter greenery with some bright touches is all that’s needed.


Have a holiday playlist and your speakers set up in advance. Choose a little bit of everything from old standards to more recent tunes unless you have a homogenous guest list. Make sure to include your favorites (This is your party!). A playlist that's ready to go gives you a great fallback position for holiday music. If people want to play their own selections or put on some dance music, that’s great, too! It’s always fun when parties evolve and get livelier. Create a little floor space in advance if you think people are likely to enjoy dancing at your holiday party. A slight rearrangement to the furniture is probably all that's necessary.


It’s always a fun idea to have a few games up your sleeve. Whether card games break out in the basement, or the group is small enough that board games at the dining room table would be fun, have a few options out in plain sight so your guests can take advantage of them. If you have an all-ages party with little ones present, consider setting up a television and have fleece throws handy so they can curl up and watch a favorite holiday movie while the adults visit.

With a bit of planning, you can host your best holiday party ever! Have fun!


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