What distinguishes a good holiday party from a great one? It is not the collection of distinctive liquor bottles on the table, or a specialty cocktail menu, or even a lavish home decor that makes the event interesting. Instead, it is the attention paid to little details and the efforts (and heart) you put into hosting a party that set it above the rest.

If you want to treat your guests to an elevated holiday party experience without splurging during this already expensive time of year, here are a few tips for doing it.

1) Make A Detailed Plan

Even if you are someone who doesn’t like to follow a schedule, creating a thorough plan for the event will save you from unnecessary stress during preparations. Plan the major tasks such as food placement, lighting, and decorations beforehand. Don’t try to do everything on your own and take help from your friends and family if needed.

2) Send Invites Early

Since the holiday season is already a busy time for everyone — thanks to all the celebrations and get-togethers — it is a good idea to send your party invites in advance. By doing this, you can help your guests sort out their schedule and make time to come to your party. You can send invites through an online invitation service or by mail.

3) Create A Stress-Free Menu

A stress-free menu includes easy-to-make recipes as well as delicious store-bought goodies. If you are going to cook, try not to make everything from scratch. Choose dishes that you can prepare ahead of time, and will need a few more steps to serve. Do the same with cocktails by making a wonderful holiday punch in advance.

4) Go With Your Decor Ideas

It is your party, so the decoration should be ‘yours’ too. And by that, we mean incorporating your own theme or unique decor ideas that reflect your tastes. Choose a color scheme that boosts up the festive atmosphere. Buy decoration supplies after taking into account the size of the venue, so that they don’t come short. Add some personal touches — hand-written cards, DIY gifts — to make the event more special.

5) Set The Mood

There are many ways to infuse a party with holiday cheer! Instead of bright overheads, decorate the venue with scented candles and glow lights. You can go for apple or cinnamon scents as they give off an impression of festive preparations and baked pies. As for music, mix your traditional holiday favorites with modern tunes and create the happy vibe of the holiday season!

6) Be A Graceful Giver

Make sure to buy return gifts for your guests. You can also purchase some extra gifts that you can exchange with friends later. When going gift shopping, choose items that are appropriate for all ages, along with different-colored gift bags. If you don’t want to spend more money on gifts, do some extra baking and give the treats as gifts to guests.

7) Ensure Your Guests’ Safety

While it is important to get your smoke detectors checked periodically, make it a point to inspect the alarms, especially before your holiday party. See if they have working batteries or not. Also, check if any of the detectors have to be replaced.

8) Remove Ice From The Walkways

Remember, the convenience of your guests matters the most. That’s why make sure that you have removed the ice from the walkways. A good way to do this is to sprinkle a thin layer of salt as soon as it starts to snow.

9) Prevent Drunk Driving

If you are serving alcohol at the event, consider establishing some limitations. Choose to serve only certain types of beverages or offer drinks only during dinner. For guests who have consumed a lot of alcohol, assure their safety by giving them a ride home.

We hope these tips have helped you host the perfect party this year. Happy holidays!