Party Food

How to Plan a Holiday Party

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This fun idea is my own and is brought to you by Sears Home Appliances and Services.

Sometimes throwing an elaborate holiday party might be just the thing, but a celebration has to be simple or it just won’t happen in my house. And you know what? I think my guests enjoy the laid-back vibe—maybe even more than a “fancy” party. One thing you want to avoid on party day: a dead stove. Or any other broken appliance for that matter. If you have ever tried to get ready for a party with only one functioning burner, you’ll understand what I mean.  A Sears Maintenance Plan is like an insurance policy for your party. You will have whatever TLC your appliance needs because a home technician will appear, looking like a superhero in your eyes. Ask me how I know.

How to Plan a Holiday Party

I’m so glad we have stoves and dishwashers and dryers and all those appliances that make life easier. What I don’t like is when something malfunctions. I am not the fix-it queen. When my washing machine quit working recently I was frustrated but at least I knew who to call. The Sears technician that came was friendly, considerate (he even took his shoes off at the door!) and he knew what needed to be done to fix the problem.

Sears Appliances

No matter where you bought your appliances, you can benefit from a Sears Home Appliances and Services Maintenance Plan. Whether you simply want the peace of mind that an appliance tune-up gives or if you have a problem, the Sears House Experts are the guys to call. Sears installs 4.5 million appliances and 4 million parts a year—that’s a lot of expert experience! A company that’s been a leader in the home services industry for more than 50 years has got to be doing something right.

The Sears Home Appliances and Services Maintenance Plan includes worry-free coverage. First off, it offers technical assistance by phone for those pesky but easily solved issues. You can trust their experienced service technicians to come to your home and get the job done. You’ll get 25% savings on consumable parts that are needed. If the appliance can’t be fixed, the replacement guarantees it will be replaced. Their service promise means if something like a snow blower or riding mower can’t be fixed during a first home visit, Sears will provide an allowance for lawn care or snow removal. How’s that for peace of mind?! Now only if the Sears technician could make the party menu…

Here are a few of my tips for planning a fun holiday party without going bonkers:

  1.  Co-host the party and share prep chores, or at least, don’t turn down offers when someone asks, “What can I bring?” Be clear about who is doing what.
  2. Plan the party date when seasonal decorating is already in place. Make a plan with a timeline to-do list and really do those items ahead of party day.
  3.  As soon as you decide on the party date, engage a baby-sitter to hang out with the kids during the event. Sure the kids will float in and out of the main party space, but knowing someone else is specifically watching out for them cuts down on stress. Either plan a few Christmas-themed activities/crafts/games for the kids to do or ask the baby-sitter to plan something pre-party (she gets paid a little more for that).
  4. Party time does NOT happen at meal time. A casual buffet with finger foods and snacks is less stressful than planning an elaborate sit-down meal.
  5. Start baking and making any food that can be made ahead of party time. Eliminate as many last-minute jobs as possible.
  6. Semi-homemade is good enough! I usually choose a special homemade something and build the rest on the best kitchen hacks I can find.
  7. Yes, just getting together is great, but a couple of focused activities add to the fun. For example, we’ve done carol sing-alongs, cookie decorating, gift wrapping, game night, and snowball fights.
  8. Hopefully the house is fairly clean for the holidays but do a quick check the morning of your event. Be sure to inspect the: entryway (and where will you put those coats?); main party space; kitchen (guests ALWAYS end up there); bathrooms (have plenty of hand towels and extra toilet paper).
  9. Be sure to have enough dishes, glasses, and seating options for the size of the guest list.
  10. Cluster a few stars, glass bulbs or decorations on the food buffet, but leave room for the star players: the food.
  11. Twinkling lights and (flameless) candles add atmosphere to the party like nothing else. The softer light also helps hide housekeeping imperfections!
  12. Get that potpourri simmering on the stove before guests arrive. Orange peel, cinnamon, star anise and a splash of vanilla smells amazing.
  13. Have a music play list ready and adjust as desired. For example, as the party winds down, the music might be more mellow than what you chose for early in the evening.
  14. If parking will be an issue, check with neighbors about using their driveway.
  15. Sometimes there are lots of leftovers to send home with guests, but not always. To me, it is less stressful to plan on specific favors as a “thanks for coming”. Some ideas: Christmas ornament; a holiday cookie cutter filled with homemade fudge; mini bottle of cologne/perfume (buy those gift sets that are prevalent during the holidays and re-package); lip balm; hot cocoa mix with peppermint stick; mini LED flashlight. Whatever you choose, put it in a small gift bag or tie a ribbon around it—the presentation is part of the fun.

A home in good repair with fully functioning appliances is ready to be decorated for the season, and then—you’re ready to host a get-together! A holiday party really adds a lot of merry to Christmas! If you have time to make homemade anything, everyone always raves about these sugar cookies. You’ll get extra points and grins for the ugly “sweaters”.

Ugly Sweater Christmas Cookies

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Cute Christmas Cookie Ideas

Unique Christmas Cookie Idea

Christmas Cookie

Ugly Sweater Christmas Sugar Cookies
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  1. 2 sticks butter at room temperature
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  4. 2 medium eggs
  5. 2.5 cups flour
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. 1 cup powdered sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons milk
  3. 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  1. 1 cup powdered sugar
  2. 3 tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix butter and sugar for 1-2 minutes
  3. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until just blended
  4. Combine flour and salt in a separate bowl
  5. Add to wet mixture
  6. Mix until only combined, do not overmix
  7. Put dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out
  8. Cut into shapes and place on greased cookie sheet
  9. Bake for 10 minutes
  10. Let cool before icing
  11. Makes approximately 20 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter
  1. Red gel food coloring
  2. Put into piping bag with a Wilton #3 tip to outline the sweater
  1. Red gel food coloring
  2. Use the piping bag to fill in the sweater
Spaceships and Laser Beams
Use edible markers to make face features.

Decorate sweaters with mini-candies, sprinkles, tubes of gel icing.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sears Home Appliances and Services.

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Layne Quintanilla

Layne is a boy mom in love. Surrounded by three adventurous little men and her ever patient husband, she's in pursuit of an empty laundry basket, the perfect cup of coffee, and sleep. She blogs, parents, and manages social media while wearing her tiara. You can join her party at My Best Laid Plans and Coupons with Q.