Hosting a Holiday Party: 16 Tips for Prepping Your Home for Guests

Are you hosting a holiday party this year? Being a good host can be incredibly rewarding, but it can be stressful, too. Thankfully, most of the stressors can be eliminated with a bit of advanced planning. If you’re wondering how to throw a party and prepare your home for guests, we’ve put together a list of 16 simple hosting tips that will make organizing a holiday party a breeze!

Prepare Guest Rooms

Will your relatives or friends be staying overnight? Be sure to declutter the rooms where they’ll be staying and have everything set up before they arrive. Set out towels and washcloths. Fill a wicker basket with extra blankets and pillows near the bed. Clear out the closet or dresser drawers so there’s room in case they want to unpack their clothes. If you have extra phone chargers, include those in the room, too.

Stock the Bathroom

Before people arrive, make sure to deep clean the guest bathrooms, as well as any main-level bathrooms. Ensure cabinets are fully stocked with necessities, such as toilet paper, soap, towels, and lotions. Or place a decorative basket on the counter and fill it with travel-sized items to give your home a hotel-like feel.

Tidy the Living Areas

While you may love the book collection or knick-knacks on your coffee table or end tables, it’s good to clear surfaces so holiday guests have a place to set down beverages. As you’re decluttering, make sure there’s enough seating for all guests, and remove any unnecessary furniture or decor to make space. If there will be young children in your home, be sure to pick up and put away delicate items.

Clear the Entryway

The entryway is a high-traffic area that’s also the first view of your home for guests. Keep it clutter-free by moving coats, bags, and shoes to a hall closet. Don’t have closet space available? Organize your entryway or mudroom with wall-mounted coat racks, storage cubbies for shoes, and a storage bench for guests to set purses or bags down.

Rearrange Furniture

If you’re planning on a large number of guests attending your holiday party, rearranging the furniture will help maximize your space. Move tables out to the edges of the room and place folding chairs, covered storage benches, or ottomans in seating groups so people can mingle. Pushing bulky furniture against the wall or out of the room completely is another effective way to create more room for guests.

Don’t Forget About Lights

Overnight guests will appreciate a bedside lamp they can access when needed. Consider putting a few night lights in the guest room, the hallway, and leading to the bathroom so guests unfamiliar with your home can easily navigate at night should they need to get something from another room.

Share the WiFi Password

Make it easy for holiday party guests to use the internet by sharing your WiFi information in an easy-to-see place. Use a shadow box, chalkboard, whiteboard, or letterboard to creatively display the WiFi name and password. Then, set it up in a guest bedroom, kitchen, or on a console table in your living room.

Prepare the Menu Early

Prepping items for your holiday menu early will not only eliminate stress, but it will also keep you out of the kitchen and enjoying your party. Plan the menu a few weeks in advance so you know exactly what ingredients you will need. Items like spinach dip, gravy, casseroles, and cakes can be prepared months ahead of time and kept in the freezer. Simply reheat dishes the day of your holiday party and enjoy!

Label Your Serving Ware

Labeling the dishes you’ll use for a holiday party will help save time and energy sifting through cabinets last minute. Choose the serving ware you’ll need for your event ahead of time, and use labels or sticky notes to designate which dishes will serve which courses. You can also use labels to let guests know about the name of each meal or the ingredients in case of food allergies.

Mix a Festive Drink

A few days before your holiday party, choose a fun drink to mix for your guests. Add a punch bowl of sparkling pomegranate punch or Vino Francesca sangria to a table with glasses. Or pre-mix a large batch of refreshing Paloma cocktails in a pitcher that guests can pour at their leisure.

Create a Drink Station

Keeping the beverage area separate from the dining area will help cut down on clutter and traffic. Set up a table or bar cart with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (like sodas, juices, or punch) and include glassware, an ice bucket, and napkins for guests to utilize. For easy cleanup and protection from sticky spills, lay down a roll of butcher paper on surfaces.

Have Snacks Handy

Keeping snacks readily available throughout your home is a good way to ensure guests never go hungry between meals! Place a few bowls filled with candy, flavored popcorn, or maple glazed nuts in your living room, or set out a meat and cheese plate with veggies in the kitchen.

Set the Table Early

A beautiful table arrangement sets the mood for your holiday party! Prepare the table early to save time when guests arrive. Choose matching placemats and napkins, add dinnerware, and don’t forget a centerpiece! A simple glass bowl with ornaments, candles, or decorative gourds can sit for days, eliminating holiday preparation stress.

Make Place Cards

If you’re hosting a large dinner party, add place cards to your holiday table! Not only will they give your table setting a little holiday flair, but they’ll also make it easy for your guests to find their seat at the table. These adorable DIY holiday place cards can match with any holiday decor!

Designate a Playroom for Kids

Will there be kids at your holiday get-together? Keep them entertained between meals and activities by creating a makeshift playroom in a family room, basement, or flex space. Create a coloring station at a folding table, set up a TV with video games or kid-friendly holiday movies, or put out a few books and toys in easy-to-reach bins. If you don’t already have age-appropriate toys, you can always ask your guests to bring a few items that their kids can play with during the party.

Don’t Stop the Music

Once guests arrive, keep a holiday playlist going! Music helps fill those silent spaces in conversation, and it keeps the mood feeling light and jolly. Put a few bluetooth speakers in the kitchen and living areas to keep the music flowing and spirits bright!

With a bit of planning, hosting a holiday party in your home can be a great way to show your guests a good time. Looking for more tips on how you can prep for the holidays? Check out our guide on cleaning and organizing your home before guests arrive!

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16 Tips for Being a Good Holiday Host