How to Get Organized for Holiday Entertaining

Donna @ An Organized Season
by Donna @ An Organized Season

Are you looking forward to hosting family and friends at fun holiday gatherings? Or does the thought of having people over leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Most people probably fall somewhere in the middle! No matter where you find yourself, I can show you how to get organized for stress-free holiday entertaining!

Before I share my tips with you, I have a bonus to tell you about!

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. We appreciate your support. (disclosure policy)

This post is a blog hop, which means 11 of my friends are sharing their ideas on Christmas entertaining as well!

The Fabulous Friday Link Party Blog Hop

Every Friday we share The Fabulous Friday Link Party.

It’s a place for bloggers to link their best posts for a potential feature the following week.

The Link Party hosts invited six bloggers, who link up regularly, to join this blog hop.

Today the 6 Hosts and 6 Talented Bloggers are launching the 1st Fabulous Friday Blog Hop.

We hope you’ll “hop” over to see all of the amazing Christmas Entertaining Inspiration.

All the links to the Hosts and their Featured Blogger Friends are at the end of this post.

Now, let’s talk about how to get organized for holiday entertaining!

How to get organized for holiday entertaining

I love to entertain during the holidays!

Years of planning parties and having family gatherings have taught me how to prepare, so I can enjoy myself during the event!

The key is to work smarter not harder!

With a little planning and incorporating our best tips, you’ll be able to pull off a fabulous event that looks effortless!

And best of all, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the company of your guests!

Here are our seven best tips to help you get organized for holiday entertaining.

A Christmas wreath decorated with fruit will help get you organized for holiday entertaining.

1) Tips to prepare your home for parties

Prioritize organizing and cleaning the rooms your guests will be in.

The main rooms you need to focus on are the living room, kitchen, dining room, and bathroom.

Here are my best tips for preparing each of these spaces!

Address Space in the Living Room

  • Remove personal items- Put away slippers, and phone chargers, then tuck away the remote controls!
  • Don’t forget tissues-Put tissues in the living room where your guests can see them.
  • Set up conversation areas- Try to arrange your furniture in a way that encourages conversation.
  • Add or remove furniture if needed- Do you have enough seating? If not, consider moving out large pieces of furniture and adding folding chairs.
  • Consider the traffic flow- Can your guests easily walk to the areas they need to get to? Do you need to accommodate anyone in a wheelchair? Remove any clutter that causes barriers.

Declutter the Kitchen

  • Clean out the fridge and freezer- Remove expired items and anything else you are not going to use. Make room to store all food items needed for the party.
  • Declutter the pantry- Make room for all the extra items you’ll need for the party. For example, large bags of chips, soft drinks, boxes of assorted crackers, desserts, etc.
  • Clear clutter from the kitchen counter -if you don’t have much counter space, remove appliances like toasters and can openers to make room for serving food.
  • Set up a drink station away from the food- To keep the kitchen from getting too crowded, consider putting a drink station in the dining room or eat-in kitchen area. You can use a bar cart or a card table.
  • Maximize space with tiered trays- If you don’t have much horizontal counter or table space, go vertical by serving food on tiered trays.
  • Empty the dishwasher- don’t forget to empty the dishwasher before your guests arrive. It will be ready to fill when the party is over.
  • Provide hand sanitizer- put hand sanitizer near the food for guests to use before they eat.
  • Set out toothpicks- remember to set out toothpicks. Guests can use them to pick up fruit or meatballs, and then have access to them, if needed, after they eat!

Set Up the Dining Room

  • Set the table early- Save time on the day of the party by setting your table a day to two before your big event!
  • Set up extra tables- If you need extra seating for a meal, set up card tables and chairs before guests arrive. Plan to eat shortly after their arrival then, you can remove the tables for the rest of the party.
  • Use paper and plastic- Consider using paper and plastic products for easy cleanup. You can find beautiful paper plates and napkins these days! Set your table with them, just like you were using china!

Prepare the Bathroom

  • Don’t forget extra toilet paper- Set out extra toilet paper where your guests can see it. Put it in a basket on the back of the toilet or sit it on the floor.
  • Purchase Poo-Pourri -this amazing product eliminates bathroom odor. Just spray it in the toilet before you go and the person after you won’t know!!
  • Provide a plunger- put a plunger in the bathroom to keep your guests from the embarrassing situation of having to ask for one!! I put mine inside a basket to make it look a little nicer!
  • Check hand soap- Refill your soap dispenser!
  • Offer guests disposable hand towels- since the pandemic, some people may not want to use the same hand towel as everyone else.
  • Treat guests with hand lotion- Put a luxurious bottle of hand lotion next to your soap!

2) Simplify food and drink

  • Choose foods you can prepare ahead of time- If you are preparing the entire meal by yourself, do as much as you can the days before.
  • Consider buying premade foods or catered items- everything you serve does not need to be handmade!
  • Ask guests to bring a dish- You can provide the main entree and have guests bring the side dishes and desserts.
  • Accept help- If guests offer to help you, let them!

3) Budget-saving tips

  • Prepare a signature drink- Instead of an open bar serve one type of alcoholic drink.
  • Serve basic drinks-Provide tea, lemonade, and water instead of soft drinks or alcohol.
  • BYOB- If you’re not a drinker, but you don’t mind your guests partaking, let them know it’s alright to bring your own booze!
  • Borrow items you don’t have- Do you need serving dishes, a card table, or more chairs? Don’t buy them, borrow them from family, friends, or neighbors!

4) Plan activities for kids

  • Set up a special place for the kids- It could be a family room, basement, or loft.
  • Provide games- Set up a table for board games or puzzles, and a TV with video games, or if the weather’s nice, plan to go outside and play a game.
  • Show a movie- Plan to watch an age-appropriate rated movie, and serve popcorn and/or candy.
  • Seasonal crafts- search your craft store for simple craft kits or print seasonal coloring sheets or seek and finds on your computer.

5) Fill your home with holiday scents and sounds!

  • Make your house smell amazing with scents of the season- Think citrus, cranberries, cinnamon, apples, or peppermint. You can make a simmer pot, light candles, or use essential oils.
  • Celebrate the sounds of the season and play holiday music- Create a holiday playlist well in advance of your gathering! You can enjoy the music as you prepare for the event and your guests can enjoy it the day of!

6) Prepare for overnight guests

If you will be hosting overnight guests:

  • Plan sleep arrangements for your guests- Figure out where all of your guests will be sleeping and if you need to borrow or purchase an air mattress or cot(s).
  • Take inventory of linens- Do you have enough linens for everyone spending the night?
  • Declutter and deep clean the guest room/bathroom-make the room as cozy and comfortable as you can!
  • Supply a toiletry basket- Gather travel-size toiletries in case your guests forget to pack them.

7) Use a planner to stay organized

We saved our best tip to get organized for holiday entertaining until last!

It’s a planner to help you manage parties and every other aspect of Christmas!

Planning ahead for the holidays can save you time and money! But, more importantly, it will reduce your stress level!

Let’s face it, most people do not start planning for Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving!

That gives you a little over four weeks to get ready!

There’s a lot to do between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, so I’ve put together a planner to help with “all the things” that need to be done!

Whether your holiday entertaining includes multiple parties or just one family gathering, I’ve got printables to help keep you organized!

You can print the whole planner or just the sheets you need for FREE by signing up for our email!

Included in the Planner

  • Cover Sheet-Print this and slide it into a binder to keep your printables together.
  • Christmas Checklist-Your to-do list broken down for the next four weeks!
  • Christmas Menu -Plan Christmas dinner, from appetizers to desserts, with this handy printable!
  • Holiday Daily Menu Plan- Plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner for overnight guests.
  • Guest list -Whether you’re having a houseful of guests or just a few family members, this will help you keep track of who’s coming, and who’s bringing what dish!
  • Shopping list- I’ve made shopping simple by dividing my grocery list between perishable and non-perishable items.
  • Recipe sheets- No need to search for your holiday recipes in different cookbooks, Store them in your binder instead!
  • Cooking schedule- Make sure all of your food items are ready at the appropriate time with this helpful printable!
  • Gift List-Keep track of everyone you need to purchase a gift for.
  • Kid’s Wish List-Write down what kids would like from Santa and their parents.

If you’d like to use our planner, sign up for our email list! You will also have access to our entire home organization resource library!

I hope you found our tips on how to get organized for holiday entertaining helpful!

However, the inspiration doesn’t stop here!

More Christmas entertaining inspiration

Click on each of the links below to get our friends’ tips on Christmas Entertaining!

They have so many wonderful ideas!

Amy Sadler Designs

Vintage Home Designs

An Organized Season

Living Large in a Small House

WM Design House

South House Designs

The Crowned Goat

Sonata Home Designs

The Ponds Farmhouse

Eleanor Rose Home

From Farmhouse to Florida

Perfecting Places

Let me know in the comments below if you’ll be hosting a Christmas gathering, and if our blog hop inspired you in some way!

If you enjoy our blog, please sign up for our email list so you won’t miss a post!

Until next time, follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and LTK!

Blessings, Donna and Rich

Pin It For Later

Save this pin to your Pinterest board so you can refer to it year after year!

More Holiday Inspiration

If you would like to see more inspiration on holiday DIY projects or home organization take a look at the posts below!

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. We appreciate your support. (disclosure policy)

Donna @ An Organized Season
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