I went to a Post-Christmas/Boxing Day party yesterday and the host seemed so stressed out. She was trying to make a fresh batch of deep fried fish cakes while running in between to see if everyone had a glass cup and drinks. Then, it seemed like she was trying to follow some form of an agenda – must do this at this time, this at this time and that at that time. While several of us did offer to help, she humbly refused each time. Observing the tension in her, I eventually just told her to slo-o-o-o-o-w down and enjoy herself. I think it was then she realized she wasn’t having fun.
Planning parties can be difficult. I would know because it used to stress me out as much as my friend. I know we always have this inner urge to impress guests or do everything in our power to make things perfect but not everything always goes according to plan. New Years Eve is coming, so here are a few suggestions from my experience of party planning to make things easier:
Plan ahead: don’t leave things until the last minute because you will revert into complete panic mode. Plan ahead and try to do what you can several days before, like taking count of your inventory, writing a list of what you need and shopping. The advantage of doing this ahead is so that if you forget something, you only have to worry about picking up that one item (or delegating someone to pick it up).
Keep decorations simple: There’s no need to be so elaborate that your party looks like a Las Vegas Broadway show with crazy colours and blinging lights splattered everywhere. Depending on the type of party you are having, you can just put up some simple streamers and balloons, a few center pieces, some flowers in a vase or even use a fancy table cloth or a combination of any of these suggestions. For the most part, people don’t even remember little details like that anyway. In fact, I didn’t even realize my friend was using charger plates until one of her naughty cats decided to pull one off the table to grab a piece of ham and broke it (don’t worry, he didn’t get hurt…or get the ham in the process).
Stay organized: It helps to have all your utensils, cups, plates, napkins and drinks on the table before your guests arrive. That way, you won’t be running back and forth (like my poor friend) ensuring your guests have everything they need. It helps to have little signs for each area as well, such as dessert table or gift table (for those Stealing Santa games).
Make easy dishes: If you’re trying to have a multiple course meal, make simple dishes so that you aren’t spending the whole night in the kitchen. Remember, your guests are here to see you too! If possible, make your dishes ahead and cook it the day of. This is especially important if you have one big complex dish that you have to absolutely make (e.g. turkey, ham, roast beef, etc.). There are also many great premade products that just need assembly. For instance, hummus and pita chips as appetizers. I just laid these out on a plate in advance and placed the Morrocan flavoured hummus (which, by the way, I highly recommend trying) in the middle for a party. Simple, pretty and appetizing!
Remember, just breathe, relax and enjoy! What’s the point in throwing a party if you can’t have fun? If you’re throwing a New Years Eve party, I hope these tips help! 🙂