Kidding about the fifty billion steps. There’s only 7 and one of them is optional.
Two of my kids had the crazy idea of being born the first week of January….a weekish after Christmas. It makes anything “special” about their day, and wanting to make it all special, threaten to fly out the window.
Not because I don’t love em. I love em good. But because my husband also happens to be born the week of Christmas and we crazy folk celebrate EVERYTHING.
It’s a lot to plan 3 parties plus Christmas around the same time. But we do it and it’s pretty dang awesome. So I consider myself a bit of a pro at party planning these days. If I do say so myself.
And I do.
Step 1: Try your best to make everyone healthy.
No joke. Start with water (I’m laughing because every post I think will have water in it) and I’m trying out probiotics this year (I’ll let you know if they make a difference).
Partying for weeks on end, especially around germy, gross, little kids who are full of colds and stomach bugs, will tear even the strongest immune system down. Guys, one year our party of 20 kids became our party of 5- and two of those were mine, because everyone we knew was sick. Even today, the day before the kids party, we’ve had guests dropping like flies due to infections and pukings.
Step 2: Delegate
Can you actually bake cookies like a pro, Karen? Or are you just wishful thinking it? OR can you and is it worth your time making things look like a million bucks when in fact it’ll be way worth your time knowing someone else will do it, and it will come to you done RIGHT. I’m not saying make everyone else do everything but I definitely have a “cookie lady” (sweet nommies by Tara….who actually retired and I’m now left cookie-less).
Things that I’ve outsourced are: cookies, cakes, sandwich trays, fruit tray, veggie tray, sushi, taco bar, lamb, cevapi (little meat fingers- they’re Uber YUM). This year, due to our BROKE status, we in fact didn’t outsource anything because everything’s cheaper when you do it yourself. But if you got the extra cash to make your stress lower, I firmly say do it.
Step 3: Lower your standard
Lemmie tell you about our cake de-evolution. Once upon a time, I was a new mom who wanted everything fancy fabulous for my little schnookums. Fancy cakes were the apple of my eye and, because I am no cake decorator, there was no compunction in buying the most awesome cakes ever. Cakes that were worth small artworks (because they were technically edible art).
My standard for cakes since then has SIGNIFICANTLY dropped. Mostly because one year my kids were assholes (this is definitely our doing and we’re working on making this outragous privilege of theirs, less.) and I vowed never to get them their own fancy cakes again.
So I didn’t.
This year Betty Crocker is my friend.
I find people eat the EXACT same amount of dessert if it looks like (and costs) a million bucks and if it looks like I made it after a few glasses of wine. That’s a fact.
Step 4: Assume everything will take 2-3 times longer than what you think.
Take my word. Especially if you’re doing everything with kids in tow.
Step 5: Taste test the wine you’re thinking of serving in advance.
We taste test the wine we’re serving at parties within a month of the party. So go out and grab a few bottles and see which ones you like the best before buying a bunch for people’s drinking pleasures. This step is easily the best one. 😀
Step 6: Prep ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING you can in advance, by a day or two.
This is imperative. It took us almost a decade to learn and finally we figured it out. Because everything takes longer with kids, because you’re permanently tired, because someone might fall sick, because you probably forgot to buy stuff and need to go back to the grocery store, DO EVERYTHING you can beforehand.
Pretend you’re Jamie Oliver and have your own cooking show. He’s not chopping shit while you’re watching. So you don’t do that either. A day or two before (pending on what you’re doing) chop up all the herbs you’re using. Measure out all of the spices. Make the desserts. Set up the appetizers. Chop potatoes. Marinate meat. Make it as stupid easy on yourself to actually cook the day of the event. Set the table. EV.ER.Y.THING. You’ll thank me.
Step 7: The semi optional step. Child containment and activities
In a land of iPads and tablets, I know the easiest thing is to skip this one all together. I strongly suggest ya don’t. If the kids have something special to do aside from tablet they’ll be less likely to come loiter amongst the adults. This year I let them paint mini nutcrackers at Dave’s bday/Christmas party. They turned out cute. My carpet did not. Learn from my mistake, I totally forgot to roll up that sucka.
Hopefully I’ve helped hosting your next event. If there’s anything I missed, lemmie know!