Plan the perfect party

Now that the holiday season is here, perhaps you're considering hosting a party for your friends and co-workers.

Our advice: Sit with your head between your knees and take deep breaths until the urge passes.

If that doesn't work, if you still think a holiday party is a good idea, then you need to get cracking. Ideally, holiday party planning should begin in April. Since you've lollygagged until now, you'll need to rush through the process.

(Good luck trying to find a caterer this late in the game. When you call their number in December, all you get is a prerecorded message: "Ho, ho, ho." Over and over.)

Here are some helpful hints for making the most of your seasonal shindig:


--A thorough house-cleaning is essential. You don't want the office drunk arising from his traditional prone position on the floor with his reindeer sweater covered in dust bunnies.

--Hide all personal items. Guests will snoop through your medicine cabinets, closets, bedside tables, etc. It can dampen your holiday spirits if that weird guy from the mailroom starts showing around your collection of porn.

--Holiday decorations are a nice touch, but it's easy to overdo it. And be sure they're safe. A big, dry Christmas tree is a hazard in a room full of candles and cigar smokers.

--Speaking of smokers, be sure to designate a smoking area outdoors. If you're planning to serve booze, a yarking area is a good idea, too.


--When people recall your holiday party in years to come, what they'll remember is the food. Spare no expense in providing a broad selection of sweets, meats and other eats. Most people will not buy the argument that it's traditional in your family to salute the holidays with Chinese takeout.

--Potluck dinners are a nice way to spread around the trouble and expense, but they take coordination. If every guest brings a dessert, you can laugh about the error and have a memorable night of sugar consumption. However, if every guest brings macaroni salad . . .

--Remember that people will be eating while standing and yakking and drinking. Serve easy-to-handle appetizers. If you must serve something messy, make sure it's the same color as your carpet.

--Fruitcakes make great fireplace fuel.

--Paper plates are tacky, but think twice before breaking out the "good china." It's the first thing to go when the food fight erupts. Which brings us to:


--When people try to recall your holiday party in years to come, what will prevent them from remembering is the booze.

--In the high spirits of the season, it's easy to get carried away. This tendency is exacerbated by booze; as they say, "liquor is quicker." If you have a sudden urge to tell your boss what you really think of him, then you've had too much to drink and you should call a cab immediately. Even if the party is at your house. Just get out of there before it's too late.

--Beware the mistletoe. Booze makes some people inordinately amorous. A drunken holiday revel is no place to start an office romance. Particularly if your spouse is watching.


--If gifts will be exchanged, set guidelines in advance. For example, are gag gifts permissible? If your boss gives you a gold pen-and-pencil set, he won't appreciate a whoopee cushion in return.

Finally, remember to have fun. When you're the host, you can get so busy making everything perfect, you lose sight of the real meaning of the season.

Throw another fruitcake on the fire, hoist the old egg nog and dance the night away. Nothing says "happy holidays" like waking up covered in dust bunnies.

No comments: