You are currently viewing A Timeline to Host Your Holiday Get-Together without Stress

Is it your turn to host the holiday get-together of your family or friends? While it is a lot of work, preparing the event has not to be stressful. There are things you can outsource, and other things that you can take care of some time ahead. Read how to create a timeline of what to do when and learn about some helpful short-cuts from taking care of the invitations over cooking, setting the table and dressing to the last minutes before the door bell rings.



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What to Do at Least a Month to Six Weeks Ahead When Hosting a Get-Together

Compile a list of the people you want (or have) to invite and store their address in a spread sheet. If you don’t have their address store their social media account.


Check Your Equipment

Now that you have an upper number, take stock what you need to seat your guests. If needed, explore where to rent extra tables, chairs, dishes, silverware, table cloths, napkins, and glasses. Ask how much in advance you have to finalize the number. Pick 2-3 days before this date as your RSVP date.


Preparation of the Invitations, Stickers, and Place Cards

Next design an invitation card with your RSVP date online. I like to use Basic Invite for various reasons. You select a design, and then can choose the color of each element on the card. With over 180 colors and their instant previews online, it’s easy to create the invite exactly how you want it. Furthermore, you can request a printed sample of your invitation to check the actual look of the paper quality, print, colors, foil, etc.


holiday invitation design via Basic Invite software
Example of a holiday invitation I designed for my friends via the easy-to-use Basic Invite software. I altered colors, font types and sizes, moved the position of input boxes as well as removed boxes where I could have added further information.



During the design process, use their address capturing service. It allows you to share a link on your social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) with the request for your guests’ addresses and stores them in your account.

When you are happy with the card, pick one of the 40 colors for matching peel-and-seal envelops, select the guests from the address list to use their free recipient address printing, and submit the order. Order name stickers and place cards too.


Tip: Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code 15FF51.


Once the cards arrive add a stamp and put them in the mail.



What to Do After the RSVP Date

  • Count the RSVPs. Check if there is someone missing whom you absolutely want to come and give them a call.
  • Decide on the food and drinks you will serve. Calculate the amounts you need for your guests depending on the amounts and servings given in the recipes.
  • Order the non-perishable ingrediencies of the recipes, snacks, and drinks, a marker to write names on the name stickers, and have the merchandise delivered.
  • Determine which dishes can you prepare the day before? Will heating them require an additional microwave? If so, put it on your list what to rent.
  • Finalize the equipment rental contract with your final guest number. Have the company deliver the stuff two days before your party.


Tip: If you have no time for cooking use a charter service, and contact them now.


What to Do a Week Ahead of Your Get-Together

  • Create a plan whom to seat where on the table(s).
  • Prepare the table decoration.
  • Clean the house.
  • Decide what you will wear, and check that the pieces of the outfit still fit, and whether they need ironing, and/or dry-cleaning. If so, take care of it.


Tip: At-home dry-cleaning saves time and money.


Three Days Before You Host a Get-Together

Shop for the perishable food online at your local store and have it delivered in the afternoon two days before the party. This timeline permits shopping elsewhere in person if an ordered item wasn’t available or replaced with another one that is unsuitable for your recipe.


Two Days Before the Party

Polish the rented glasses, silverware, and wash the rented dishes, if needed. Set up the tables and chairs. Vacuum clean the dining room, if needed after putting the tables and chairs in. Fold napkins, and place napkins, table cloths, place cards, dishes, glasses, silverware, and decoration (if you don’t opt for flowers).


screen shot of basic invite place card designing page
Example of place card using a different design template to show other motives. Again I changed colors and fonts.



The Day Before

Prepare all dishes that do not require to be cooked or made on the day of the party. Put drinks that require cooling in the refrigerator. Order the flower arrangements for your table decoration and ask them to be delivered the next day early in the afternoon, if you go this way.


On the Day You Host a Get-Together

First thing in the morning, charge your phone or camera so you can take cool Christmas pictures at your party.

Cook or prepare the remaining dishes. An hour prior to your guests’ anticipated arrival take a shower, do your makeup and hair, and dress.


screenshot of Basic Invite name sticker designed to host a get-together
While you could upload a list of names to be printed on the name stickers you can also design them for DIY like I did in the above example.



Upon the guests’ arrival, ask them to make place their coats on the bed in the bedroom, write their name on the name sticker, lead them into the living room and offer them a drink.

Twenty minutes after the start date, reheat dishes as required. Enjoy your party.


Hosting Your Holiday Get-Together without Stress in a Nutshell

Hosting a party does not have to be stressful. No matter what kind of party – Christmas, wedding anniversary, baby shower for your grandkid, there are many tasks that you can easily outsource. There are companies that collect the guest addresses and address your holiday invites,  wedding anniversary invitation cards, Christmas card birth announcement, etc.. You can shop the groceries and drinks at your local store online and have them delivered to your door. Rental services for additional chairs, tables, silverware, dishes, napkins, and glasses also offer delivery.

Setting a timeline when to do which tasks avoids last minute panics, and time-consuming, stressful chaos.


Designs: N. Mölders

© 2013-2023 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. I think you have it all covered! What’s hubby going to do? 😀