These days to make a holiday party go off without a hitch, there are a lot of details to consider. From invites to cutlery, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the details of a planning a holiday party. Pinterest has done an amazing job of giving us inspiring and creative ideas to make our holiday parties truly Instagram-worthy. It’s also done a great job of making some of us feel like we really need to step it up.

With the added pressure of hosting a party in the age of the Pinterest, we want to help you alleviate some of the stress that comes with it.  We think having a checklist can really keep your stress levels down as the host!

After all, we all know that having a cake and a colorful tablecloth isn’t enough anymore, hosting a party is about creating and designing a mood and feel for your event that is expressed in every little detail from the napkin holders to the type of cups you use.

If you’re starting to wonder why you thought hosting a holiday party was such a wonderful idea to begin with, don’t panic.  Use this list to help you stay on track and throw a party that the neighbors will be talking about for years to come!


  • Choose a Theme

Obviously if you are hosting a holiday party, your theme is that holiday, but are you going to use traditional colors? Non-traditional colors? Are you going for something elegant or quirky and fun? Is there something specific about that holiday that you want to focus on like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” or a “Lumberjack/Woods” theme. You’re the host so ultimately it is your choice, but consider the personalities of the guests you are inviting when selecting a theme that everyone can enjoy and relate to.

  • Lists- Have a few lists so you can stay organized as things evolve
    • Guest
    • Food & Drink
    • Decor
    • Household to-do’s
    • Vendors- if using any
  • Food
    • Depending on the size and time of your party, you might only need appetizers and drinks. However, if your party is earlier before 8 you might consider doing a seated dinner or elegant buffet.
  • Music
    • Will you simply use Pandora or Spotify for music or will you hire a DJ or band to add something extra special? Make sure the music fits the theme you’ve chosen to further add to the ambiance of your holiday party.
  • Lighting
    • Lighting is one of the more important mood setting aspects to a party that most hosts forget about. For a holiday party think candles, dim lighting and potentially Christmas lights coiled in hurricane vases or in a garland.


  • Food is the star of the show- If you are a doing an all-out holiday feast there is intense planning involved. If your guests have special dietary needs that can further complicate things and that’s when you might consider having us make the food. 
  • Apps-
    • charcuterie platters
    • live stations & bars (poke bar, risotto bar, hot chocolate bar, etc.)
    • other light bites like crostini’s, dips, fresh vegetables, etc.
    • bottled water
    • signature cocktail- more than two leaves you to bartend all night
      • instructions on how to make them
    • minimum 2 non-alcoholic options
      • tea
      • hot chocolate
    • PREP
      • Clean the house
      • Find places for extra seating
      • Place everything out that doesn’t need to be chilled
        • Coolers are a great place for extra storage to keep the fridge clutter free
      • Decorate
        • the key here is to have multiple heights to give the table a wow factor
          • use shoeboxes under tablecloths to give height to different snacks or desserts
        • Pretend you are a guest and walk through the food area and see if it’s all set up with a good flow


  • Being a good host can make or break the party!
    • Greet each guest
    • Have a place for coats and purses
    • Say thank you for coming
    • Show them the bar and food station if not clearly visible and point out where the restroom is
    • Have a first aid kit on hand (you’d be surprised)
    • Don’t forget to mingle- good rule of thumb is to introduce the guests to each other and then move out of the conversation

You’ve got this! Just remember, one detail at a time. Keep this checklist handy and your party is sure to go smoothly! If you’re needing some extra inspiration, check out our Holiday Party Inspiration Pinterest board.

Holiday Catering Savor Culinary Services