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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Getting Ready for the Holidays: Party Checklist

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Since the holidays are quickly approaching, I wanted to share with you again my top tips for prepping for a holiday party. Doing just a little prep beforehand will guarantee that your party is a hit!

1. Burn lots of unscented candles.

2. Create enough space for guests to hang their coats and enough hangers.

3. Display fresh flowers that have plenty of water and are perfectly groomed. (l remove lily stamens as they can stain guests clothes and noses if they get too close.)

4. Play great music—but not too loud.

5. Provide ample guest towels in the powder room.

6. Have plenty of ice and drinks, including non-alcoholic, for guest to help themselves.

7. For children, have lots of great toys and videos on hand. I love anything from Disney, National Geographic or Crayola.

8. Cameras are an absolute must. I love having pictures to remember the occasion.

9. Design place cards.

10. I always designate a friend to make introductions if I am not around.

These are my must-dos. What are yours? Let me know in the comments!


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Comments (8)

  • Kevin,

    Have you seen the new Leica C camera? It has wifi built in so you can snap good quality images and email them to your guests from the camera itself. (much like you can, admittedly, from an iPhone, but better quality).

  • I sometimes like to plan an activity. This year, it's making miniature gingerbread houses (homemade of course). And at the top of my to-do list: relax and enjoy the company of my friends.

  • I like to place extra mats by the front door to encourage guests to take off their shoes. It's so much easier than cleaning all the hardwood floors after a gather.

  • Before a party, I like to clear away as much everyday clutter as possible: from magazines and remotes, to even removing non-essential appliances from the counters and putting them away in cabinets. Also, if shoes are not allowed indoors, keep a basket of assorted slippers - from Muji or Haflinger, for example - for guests at the door; and be sure to put away all of your own entryway items into a bedroom closet.

  • Hi Kevin, your Party Checklist has all the must dos needed for the holidays, I would love to attend one of them. I like to give away favors for my guests and gifts for the kids. Happy Holidays and a wonderful weekend

  • Fantastic ideas! I was just thinking how much I would like to creating more special and festive atmosphere at home for my husband this year, as it is our first Christmas as a family. Thanks for sharing the list, it would be of great help.

  • Hi Kevin,
    Do you ask your guests to take off their shoes? If so, what kind of footwear do you provide for them and how do you present it?
    I read your blog regularly and always learn from your organizational tips and book recommendations on interior design. Thanks!

  • Great tips. I think music volume is a difficult one. My test is the bathroom. Haha. Loud enough that in the bathroom you can't hear people talking. My main party rule is that 15 minutes before my party is due to start I sit on my front steps and have a drink. It helps me get into the vibe and at this time of year, not look like a sweaty mess from last minute cleaning! Lol.

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