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Must-Have Checklist – Planning Your At-Home Holiday Party


The scent of pine, the sight of snow, and the hordes of shoppers can only mean one thing – the holiday season is upon us.  It may seem like a joyous season to some of us, but for those planning an at-home holiday party there’s an added layer of stress.

Well your experts at Flutter FETTI® are here to make your life a whole lot easier.  We know that organization is an important component to a successful home holiday party, so we’ve constructed an easy-to-follow checklist to help you organize your own party plans:

o  Date & Time

Pick a date, pick a time, and stick with it!  Once you know exactly when you’re hosting the party, everything else will fall into place.

o  Save-the-Date

As soon as you’ve confirmed your date and time, start working on a save-the-date invite.  The holiday calendar fills up quick, so send it out at least 6 weeks in advance because the sooner your guests know, the sooner they can block their calendars.  A last-minute invite will only result in a lack of guests.

o  Food

Party nibbles are a necessity, but the main thing here is to plan an easy and simple menu.  Focus on delicious classics like beef turnovers, shrimp cocktails, cheese and fruit trays, and spinach and artichoke dips.  Anything that can be prepped early or the day before is a winner, as are dishes that can be served cold or heated in large batches.  The last place you want to spend your night is in your own kitchen.

Note:  Hiring help from a caterer, cook, or bartender is not cheating; rather it gives you more time to mingle with all your guests.

o  Drinks

For most parties, alcoholic drinks are expected and the options should be varied – a pungent punch, flavorful beers, and classy wines.  However, non-alcoholic drinks are essential too, especially as you want to support the designated drivers.  To give the non-drinkers a real treat, serve a colorful non-alcoholic punch in funky glassware.  Recipes using ginger ale, fruit juices, and real fruit are always a hit.

o  Décor

Décor turns your house from a humble abode into a holiday retreat.  Tie balloons to your mailbox and put a wreath (or other decoration) on your door to get partygoers in the spirit before they even walk inside.  Then cover your home in colorful floral arrangements, scented candles, streamers, and holiday-themed items.  It will tell guests right away that you’ve made an effort to offer a good time.

o  Entertainment – Overall

This is our specialty!  It’s crucial that you enlighten all five senses in order to immerse your guests in the seasonal spirit.  Music for the ears, candles for the nose, decorations for the eyes, food for the mouths, and drinks for people to hold while they socialize all night long.   Of course, we always believe that entertainment goes far beyond the basics.  If you really want to make it merry, give your guests 6” Flutter Flickers to shoot off inside or 14” FireCracklers Confetti “Snappers” to shoot off outside.  You can even hire a young neighbor to DJ your party or an older neighbor to dress up like Santa for all the kids.

o  Entertainment – Guest Interaction

Just like Rudolph played in reindeer games, sometimes a few games can go a long way with your guests too.  If your party involves a small, close-knit group, consider hosting a holiday trivia game or doing a white elephant gift exchange.  If the party is larger and not everyone knows each other, a cookie exchange is delicious and fun.

o  Invitation

Send a real invitation 3-4 weeks prior to your home holiday party.  The best invitations are adorned with a family photo or another personal effect.  Make sure to include driving directions, home address, parking info, party agenda, food hints, and even dress code when sending the invite.

o  Wares

We’re not trying to promote the throwaway culture here, but when you have tons of guests, paper plates and plastic cups do make for an easy cleanup!  However, if you want to make it classy (and don’t have enough dinnerware in your own house), consider renting from a company or borrowing from a neighbor.

o  Photographer

Ask your spouse, partner, or peppiest family member or friend to be the evening’s designated photographer.  They don’t have to spend the whole night snapping away, but they should spend some time gathering group shots and capturing the big moments.

o  Cleanliness and a Coat Rack

Before you let anyone through that front door, make sure every morsel and speck of dust has been wiped clean from the house.  If your house is dirty, people will notice and your guests will be turned off.  In addition, many holiday parties occur in cold destinations.  Have enough hangars to handle guests’ coats or use the guest room as a designated drop-off spot for coats, bags, and whatever else people bring.

o  Smile

You’ve worked hard to make the party happen.  Take a deep breath and smile!  Everyone takes their cue from you, so the happier the host, the happier your guests will be.

o  Gifts

Not like anyone needs another gift this time of year, although it’s a nice gesture to send off your guests with a small token of appreciation.  Little bags with a few home-baked goods, scented candles, or homemade ornaments are sweet ways to end the night.

o  Thank You

A day or two after the party, send a thank you email.  A quick note lets everyone know how much you appreciate them taking time out of holidays to spend with you and/or your family.  Attach a few photos to accompany the email and give your guests some lasting memories.

o  Contact Flutter FETTI®:

Contact one of our confettiologists and we'll make the right product recommendation to add the "WOW!" effect to your at-home holiday party.

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Note some confetti products are colored with dye that may stain if they come become damp or wet. Please remove wet confetti immediately upon discharge.