The holidays are here. Time for laughter and some cheer. But party hosts and hostesses beware. If you don’t prepare, it could turn into a nightmare. And we just can’t have that during the most wonderful time of the year!

Planning special events might be a headache for some, but not for communications professionals. From grand opening celebrations to press conferences and more, we’ve learned a few things that any party planner should find useful. Here are a few guidelines you’ll want to follow so you have a December to remember:

1. Make a list. And check it twice.

Santa and his elves plan year-round to ensure they successfully make every delivery on Christmas Eve. We’re not saying you need 12 months to prepare for your holiday gathering, but the more planning you do, the better off you’ll be come party time.

Create a timeline – both for the planning and implementation of your event. Make a list of items or supplies you’ll need for the party. Delegate tasks to your friends, family and/or co-workers as needed. And be sure to do it all well before the day of your bash!

2. Don’t deck the halls too much.

Buddy the Elf loves smiling, singing loud for all to hear, and decking out his favorite department store before Santa’s arrival. We love his enthusiasm but think he may go a bit overboard. Even the world’s best cup of coffee can’t keep him from feeling exhausted after spreading so much Christmas cheer.

Buddy the ElfImage courtesy of

Don’t take on too much; you’ll just end up feeling overwhelmed. Ask for help if you need it, otherwise both you and your event will suffer. Additionally, don’t try to outdo your last party or outshine your neighbor’s decorative display. It’s not about being the best but rather being joyful and thoughtful throughout the season.

3. All is calm. All is bright.

The holiday season is typically a frantic time, so do yourself a favor. Accept that anything that can go wrong probably will go wrong. Your holiday light display blows a fuse. Family and friends show up unexpectedly. You overcook or even burn the ham or turkey. Your favorite aunt accidentally wraps her cat in a box and gives it to you as a gift. These things will only ruin your holidays if you allow it.

Video courtesy of Fandango Movie Clips YouTube channel.

You may not encounter as many crazy mishaps as the Griswold family this holiday season. But if you mentally prepare yourself for any obstacles, you’ll stress less so you can figure out a solution in no time.

4. Have yourself a merry little Christmas.

We know you want to host the hap-hap-happiest holiday party your loved ones and/or colleagues have ever attended. But that doesn’t mean you should remain in the background, directing the event the whole time. Take some time to enjoy yourself! You deserve it.

Plus, when you participate rather than simply manage, you can easily determine what works and what needs to be changed for next year. Whether it’s too little seating, not enough appetizers or bad party music, you can observe these things yourself or ask your party guests for some feedback.

If you follow these simple tips, we guarantee your holiday party will NOT become the nightmare before Christmas. Keep in mind that this advice can also be helpful for parties throughout the year or any special event.

Happy holidays and all the best this coming New Year!