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Woman preparing Christmas dinner table.

Hosting a Holiday Party: 17 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 holiday guests, check out these 17 simple hosting tips that will make organizing a holiday party a breeze!

Send Out Holiday Invitations

Be sure to send out invitations to your holiday party at least three weeks prior to your event. It’s socially acceptable to send an invitation by email or mail. Whether it’s an evite invitation or postal mailer, these cards will help holiday guests prepare in advance for the party.

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 place 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 as well.

Stock the Bathroom

Home Bathroom with Fall Decorations and Wreaths. Photo by Instagram user @randrathome

Photo via @randrathome

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

Living Room with Christmas Tree, Stockings Above the Fireplace, and Other Christmas Decorations. Photo by Instagram user @wowilovethat

Photo via @wowilovethat

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 at your holiday party, 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.

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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 holiday guests to set purses or bags down.

Rearrange Furniture

Couches and Christmas Tree in Living Room with NOEL Letters on Table. Photo by Instagram user @caliber_homes

Photo via @caliber_homes

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 family and holiday guests.

Don’t Forget About Lights

Guest Room Well Lit with Lamps on Nightstand. Photo by Instagram user @tanya_harvey7

Photo via @tanya_harvey7

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 if they need to move to another room.

Share the WiFi Password

Home Sign with WiFi Password Listed on It. Photo by Instagram user @randrathome

Photo via @randrathome

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

Recipe Book on Table Open to Christmas Bread Recipe. Photo by Instagram user @talliswren

Photo via @talliswren

Prepping items for your holiday menu early will not only eliminate stress, but it can 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, holiday appetizers, 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

Dinner Table Full of Plates with Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner. Photo by Instagram user @chairmanmills

Photo via @chairmanmills

Labeling the holiday dishes you’ll use for a 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 what you’re serving in case of food allergies.

Mix a Festive Drink

Table with Glasses and Bowl Full of Holiday Punch. Photo by Instagram user @artinthefind

Photo via @artinthefind

A few days before your party, choose a fun holiday drink to mix for your guests. Add a punch bowl of sparkling pomegranate punch or holiday-themed sangria to a table with glasses. Or pre-mix a large batch of refreshing Paloma holiday cocktails in a pitcher that party 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 when hosting a holiday party. 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 holiday napkins for guests to use. For easy cleanup and protection from sticky spills, lay down a roll of butcher paper on surfaces.

Have Snacks Handy

Keeping holiday 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

Table Set with Elaborate Utinsels for Hanukkah Dinner. Photo by Instagram user @kimseybert

Photo via @kimseybert

A beautiful table arrangement sets the mood for your holiday party! Prepare your holiday 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 festive ornaments, candles, decorative gourds, or garlands can sit for days, eliminating holiday preparation stress.

Make Holiday Place Cards

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

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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 holiday 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 light and jolly when hosting a holiday party. Put a few Bluetooth speakers in the kitchen and living areas to keep the music flowing and spirits bright!


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