1. Stock up on wrapping supplies now. Avoid the Christmas Eve scramble where you inevitably realize you don’t have enough tape or wrapping paper by stocking up on these five items. You’ll be able to create endless gift-wrapping combinations, without the drama. Designate one easy-to-reach space for all of your holiday supplies to instantly make you feel more organized.
2. Prepare your pantry. Make sure your cupboards are stocked with Food Director Claire Tansey’s instant-party pantry essentials: olives, almonds, dates and crackers.
3. Buy hostess gifts in multiples. Make your life easier and buy several hostess gifts at once. Look for sets of pretty notebooks or delicious bags of holiday crackers — these can be opened, wrapped and distributed to more than one host. Buy sets that have variety to keep your gift-giving personal.
4. Load up your bar cart. Ensure your bar cart is filled with the essentials before you start hosting. Learn how to stock your bar for under $200 here.
5. Replenish your supply of candles, cocktail napkins and matches. Stock up before the holiday madness sets to avoid running out of essentials mid dinner party. Tip: Keep batteries on hand so people can use their electronic gifts right away.
6. Make lists. We could write an essay about lists, mostly because they are life savers! Keep a separate list going for different tasks: Food to buy for your dinner party; gifts to buy family; gifts to buy hostesses. Having your to-dos down on paper means you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything (or anyone!).
7. If you’re hosting, plan your meal now. From the appetizers to dessert, it will take a weight off your shoulders if you know what you’re serving. Make a shopping list closer to the date so you’re not scrambling last minute (see number 6!).
8. Dig out your tableware. Take the dreaded journey into your attic or basement and get out your holiday napkins, tablecloths and cutlery. Doing this in advance gives you time to see what you still need.