Throwing a last minute holiday gathering? Follow these five simple tips for a stress-free last-minute holiday party!
Have you ever found yourself throwing a last-minute holiday gathering? I have on several occasions. Old friends are suddenly coming back into town for the holidays and we want to gather the gang. In a quick hallway discussion with other moms, someone throws out the idea of getting together for a moms' night in as a nice break from the madness of the holidays. A colleague volunteers our house for a game night that weekend.
While I absolutely LOVE throwing parties, last minute gatherings used to throw me off guard. But over the years, I've learned some tips and tricks to make putting together a last-minute holiday gathering super easy, and low stress.
Throwing a Stress-Free, Last-Minute Party
Whether you have just a few days to plan a small holiday gathering of friends, or just a few hours, you can totally throw a successful little soiree that's super fun without stress.
Five Tips for Stress-Free Last Minute Holiday Entertaining
1. Keep your kitchen organized
Okay, so this first tip is something you can actually work on NOW. The more organized your kitchen is, the less time you will waste trying to find the right glasses and those cute marble serving trays. Once I finally got my kitchen organized, it was easy to remember what we had, what we still needed to get, and where things were when I needed them. It honestly became so much more FUN to host last-minute gatherings.
Would you be interested in a post sharing my best kitchen organization tips? Let me know in the comments below or message me on Instagram!
Speaking of cute faux marble serving trays... I got these with Amazon Prime when I needed more elegant serving trays for a last minute party. They arrived in two days, with free shipping! Gotta love that. And, they easily elevate any holiday gathering you're having.
2. Time it well
Plan your party for a day or night when you have a few hours before the party to prepare without rush. Don't plan a party for an hour after you arrive home from work on a Friday night or an hour after you'll be gone all day Christmas shopping with your mother-in-law; be realistic. Giving yourself enough time to prepare is key to keeping your sanity!
3. Keep the menu simple: buy some, make some
You all know how much I love, love, love to cook and bake. But, I also work two full-time jobs and am raising a tween and teen. While I would truly be happy to make everything from scratch all the time, that's just not possible. So for last minute gatherings, I might make an appetizer or two and a dessert, and then buy the rest.
Some of my favorite easy party recipes that take no time at all include:
Cranberry Meatballs (start them in the slow cooker in the morning so they're ready by party time!)
And these Caprese Bites:
Caprese Bites are mini skewers of cherry or grape tomatoes, mozzarella balls soaked in olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil, and basil leaves. So easy to make, they look beautiful on the table, and everyone always loves them!
What if you're really short on time? Buy everything! Ain't no shame in a store-bought game! Especially nowadays, when services like Amazon Fresh allows you to order options that can be healthy, organic, and delicious.
4. Check out Amazon Prime for last-minute menu items and decorations
I almost always turn to Prime Now for last-minute needs. I've been a member for several years, and we use it for literally almost everything. I needed to make fried food once and I actually ordered a deep fryer that arrived within two hours. It was amazing.
Most recently, we've loved using Prime Now to order last-minute groceries. This service has saved me so many times!
I ordered most of the food pictured in this post from Whole Foods Market via Amazon Prime Now. Amazon is all about delivering smiles this holiday season, and they definitely helped me be a holiday hero on more than one occasion!
I love their vast selection, low prices, convenient doorstep delivery (the items here were delivered to my doorstep via Prime Now in about two hours!).
And now that I can also order beer and wine online through Amazon Prime Now, I can rest easy knowing I can get everything I need for any type of party.
5. Keep it casual
Low-stress also means no-fuss, casual entertaining. Nothing fancy needed when it's your dear friends, right?
For smaller gatherings like this one, I like to set food out in the living area instead of the dining table. This way, guests feel welcome to kick their shoes off, sit on the couch or floor, and drink wine by the fire. I like keeping food close to where people will hang out, so the fun doesn't have to be interrupted by constant trips to another room.
Bonus tip: when you're five minutes away from when your guests are supposed to arrive, pour yourself a glass of bubbly, sit back, and breathe. The best part about last-minute holiday gatherings are the people who are there.
I hope these tips help you spend less time worrying and more time celebrating. And I hope you enjoy the holiday season with your friends and family!
What is one of your best tips for throwing a stress-free, last-minute, party?
More last-minute holiday ideas
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Amazon. As always, all opinions and photos are my own. I have been an Amazon Prime member for several years and LOVE it!