4 Easy Tips for the Perfect Holiday Party Prep

We can’t believe we’re saying this already, but the holidays are fast approaching! In the midst of working, shopping, wrapping presents, and decorating, this season is notorious for leaving little time to prep your home for hosting the perfect holiday party. Thankfully, we’ve got some multitasking tips and tricks to take you from frazzled to dazzled faster than you can say “tinsel!”

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We can’t believe we’re saying this already, but the holidays are fast approaching! In the midst of working, shopping, wrapping presents, and decorating, this season is notorious for leaving little time to prep your home for hosting the perfect holiday party. Thankfully, we’ve got some multitasking tips and tricks to take you from frazzled to dazzled faster than you can say “tinsel!”

Tip #1: Layer Your Tasks

A popular method for maximizing time is to layer tasks in order of things you can walk away from to tasks needing hands-on attention. For example:

  • Load your dishwasher and have it run while you clean your floors. Tip: Start loading the smallest dishes first. You might be left with larger dishes to hand wash, but there will be fewer than loading the larger ones first.
  • If you’re baking or cooking, preheat the oven or stovetop while prepping what you’re cooking.
  • Spray down your bathroom and let it sit for a few minutes while you tidy up the living room. When you come back to it, you’ll hardly need to scrub, saving you time and energy! 


Tip #2: Utilize Time-Saving Apps

Party prep is more than cleaning and staging — it’s food and beverage prep, too! But, who has time for grocery shopping? Save yourself some time and energy by using a food delivery app like Instacart. This app allows you to select a local participating grocery store and have the food items you need delivered right to your door. 

Do you have someone helping you with your party prep? Keep tasks organized with a to-do list app like Wunderlist, which allows you to share to-do lists with friends. 


Tip #3: Clean with Multi-use Tools

The floors need sweeping, the rug needs a refresh, and the furniture is covered in dust and pet hair. Who has time to grab a broom, dustpan, vacuum, and feather duster? Leave them all in the closet and use a multi-purpose tool instead! Our favorite is Hoover’s ONEPWR Blade MAX Cordless Vacuum. With the ability to transform from an upright vacuum to a handheld unit, it gives the maximum cleaning power you need to tackle any job on almost any surface in mere minutes. Plus, it has an interchangeable battery that can power other tools in the ONEPWR line, like the Hoover ONEPWR FloorMate Jet, saving you time across all your cleaning needs. 

Special thanks to Lori Strickland of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Towne Realty for showing us this beautiful home. Take a tour of it HERE!


Tip #4: In Case of Emergency: Throw it in a Bin!

We’ve all been there. You’ve done everything you can to prep FOR the actual party, but there’s five minutes until guests arrive and you realize your home isn’t exactly dazzling. Don’t panic! You may not have time for a deep clean, but that doesn’t mean you can’t at least look tidy. Grab a bin, set a timer for five minutes, put on some of your favorite high-energy music, then GO! Grab as many clutter culprits into the bin as you can, but only for the rooms you know guests will see. When you’re done, stash the bin in a hidden location like a bedroom closet or the trunk of your car. 


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Audrey is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at, with a master's degree in strategic communication. A lifelong arts aficionado, she's also a part-time dance teacher in Virginia Beach. Wife to aerospace engineer Ryan and fur-mom to rescue pup Lucy, she's the self-declared World's Greatest Pizza Lover who lives for chocolate and a sunshine-filled day at the beach.

52 Replies to 4 Easy Tips for the Perfect Holiday Party Prep

  1. My favorite holiday prep tip is to make food items that can easily be reheated the day before that way it gives you more breathing time in case something crazy happens like your child or furbaby making a huge mess!

  2. Keep it simple and natural. Begin your decor ahead and use fruits, berries, pine cones and fresh cut greenery. You save money; it looks beautiful and you can toss it after the party quick and easy. I collect pine cones and use cinnamon and clove oils on them for a delightful scent.

  3. I always prep before hand. Cut any foods necessary. Bake pies ahead of time. I also, make sure to stock bathrooms with soaps and extra towels. I usually put away breakable cups in case any spills happen. Better not to worry about broken glass!

  4. Make a List
    Cook Ahead
    Do as much ahead of time as possible. “Soups and stews are the ultimate winter and holiday food — they’ll feed a crowd. Quiches and tarts also freeze well

  5. Plan ahead! I begin cleaning and planning and prepping days ahead so it isn’t such a big deal. And I’ve learned over the years, if it doesn’t turn out exactly how I planned, it’s ok. Just enjoy your time with your family.

  6. Learn dietary restrictions ahead of time and have appetizers all ready for early arrivals!
    Do all cleaning the day before as you will be busy cooking and no I eat for anything else…

  7. My tips are:
    To deep clean less used rooms earlier in the week. If you’re baking, get all the dry ingredients prepped in Tupperware days before. Use slow cooker recipes as much as you can, that way you don’t have to have the oven on all day and the food stays warm during the whole party. My last tip is to sweep the night before and mop the day of, that way the house smells great and is sparkly clean for your guests.

  8. I’m the HOSTESS , I clean the floors, carpet and dust the day before our celebration, bathrooms and Kitchen shines like a shilling!?????? Now the food and entertainment begins!

  9. I prep as much as I can a day or two ahead of time. I also clean my house and block off rooms that aren’t neccessary so that they stay cleaned until it is time for the party.

  10. My #lifehack for a holiday party is to plan ahead, get organized, clean a room everyday up until the party. Asking everyone to bring a dish saves time and helps cut down on the dishes and makes a nice buffet! Vacuum the the day of the party before guest arrive add a little Glade Carpet freshner I like the clean Linen one and the house will smell fresh! Enjoy the party and spending time with friends and family.

  11. My family all gets together to clean and prepare for our party together. This way we have fun preparing as well as enjoying our gathering. Some of us are great at the cleaning and decorating while others are fabulous cooks and bakers.

  12. Plan ahead by using lists! Buffet style type of foods and drinks are simple and can look so good with your holiday decor. We love having a hot cocoa bar, dessert bars, and a homemade pizza bar.

  13. My life hack for the holiday party is start cleaning bedrooms early, make a menu and prep most of it and freeze it. Share cleaning responsibility with other members of family like kids can pick up toys and clean their play area etc so you get enough time and energy to entertain guests.

  14. My holiday prep tip is start any deep cleaning earlier in the week and do a room or two each day, that way the closer it gets to the party, you’ll only have lighter tasks like a quick sweep, or vacuum.

  15. Besides freezing what we can, we also have a complete menu list, so nothing gets forgotten in the refrigerators.

  16. My holiday pre tip is to make sure they RSVP, make extra food and make sure I assign a person to help me clean before and after the party.

  17. I always make a list of everything. I prepare all that I can in advance – even freezing some things such as meatball or poppy seed bread. The more I do ahead of time the more I can enjoy my company when they walk in the door.

  18. My wife and I start weeks earlier – cleaning and making sure the sheets are all clean on all the beds too. Downstairs we clean closer to the time – the week of. As far as foods – we already have a list of foods and we start as early as we can making some and freezing and some comes right from the stove putting in warm buffets or crockpots to keep it all warm. We also encourage everyone to bring their favorite dishes as sides and deserts while we cover more of the turkey,stuffing and ham. #LifeHack #PartyHack – let others help so you are not so tired when everyone arrives.

  19. Clean a day or two ahead of time and shop early too! Do as much prep work ahead of time to save yourself time on the day of your party!

  20. Let your kid watch whatever they want while you clean. You’ll get a lot more done when they don’t need you every .3 seconds. #momhack #lifehack

  21. Get a multi-pack of aluminum casserole dishes so you can cook your casseroles and Party contributions in them and don’t have to worry about retrieving your favorite platter later.

  22. Clean as you’re cooking! My mom always said this, it makes a huge difference when you put all of the ingredients away after you use them and clean big bowls/dishes while your food is cooking.

  23. Generally I like to make sure rooms are organized I go room by room and organize and then give it a good clean and vacuuming. And viola good to go.

  24. My holiday prep tip is make everything you can few days and day before cut up cheese and veggie platters peel and cut veggies and keep in bowl of water is spare fridge. Also make sure dishwasher is empty for reloading all dirty dishes.

  25. Definitely do as much prep as possible in the days before entertaining. The less there is to do on the actual day of the party the less stressful and more fun it will be!

  26. The only thing we do at my house is plan a gingerbread decorating party. It helps to buy the year before to save money and reuse anything we can. We also set up a plastic cloth on the table for easy cleaning. As for party prep at my mom’s for our Christmas dinner, she likes to clean the house a week beforehand, so that the night before she just has to pick up whatever. And we buy groceries a few days before and plan our menu times.

  27. My biggest tip/hack is to make as much ahead as possible. That way on the day of the gathering you can be more relaxed and have more time with your guests.

  28. Store refill foods under the table covered by a tablecloth. Use coolers for cold items. Makes for a quick refresher when snacks are getting low. #lifehack

  29. A tip for a quick pick up. Grab a box and pick up everything that is out of place or not put away or on floor. Now you can sweep and vacuum and it looks great.. then take box and put everything where it goes .

  30. My holiday prep top is to make your holiday cookies using cake mix. Takes so much less time and there are so many excellent recipe on the Internet.

  31. My tip is to keep it simple and get help. Make a list and check it twice. I always start baking the desserts first because you don’t have to keep them warm to serve! My kids help cutting fruits. The important thing is to remember to have fun with your family and friends!

  32. What I find helpful do that you stay on task is to plan out what must be done to prepare for your gathering so if you just need to tackle certain things complete those first then if you have time go after the deep cleaning that way you don’t find yourself starting in the kitchen and before you know it you have spent hours rearranging your cabinets and no time to complete the rest of the rooms.

  33. My life hack for the holiday party is to make a list of things to do and start cleaning couple of days before the party day. And prepare and freeze few dishes at least a day before the party.

  34. We host a holiday dinner and have gotten good at making it run really smoothly over the years. I make a list, on paper, of what dishes need to be cooked in which actual dishes (bowls, casseroles, etc.), at what temperature, which foods can go into the oven together, and at what time. Then I work backward from the time we want to eat so I know when to start. It’s a bit of work upfront, but it saves my sanity every year!

  35. We host a holiday dinner, and we’ve gotten really good at making it run smoothly over the years. I make a list, on paper, of which dishes need to be cooked in which actual dishes (bowls, casseroles, etc.), when they need to go into the oven and what temperature, which foods can be cooked together, and for how long. I start with what time we want to eat and work backwards to determine when to start cooking. It is a bit of work upfront, but it really saves my sanity!

  36. Try to cook and prep everything the day before. Keep it simple, it isn’t about how flashy things are, it is about spending time with the special people in your life. Time goes by so quick, experiences mean more than things.

  37. I make a list, check it twice and gather everything I need a week before the party. The day before the party, I prep everything I can and bake cakes, pies and any sweets we’re serving. The bread for my dressing I make the day before. I get as many of the ingredients for dishes chopped, measured, etc beforehand. If you run out of time to clean other rooms like the kids room just close the door, lol.

  38. I always start very early. Many foods you can make ahead and freeze. I clean the areas that are used less presently first as the spare bedrooms. My main thing which is so important to make a list and check off as you go. I make a cleaning list along with a food list. Without the food list, I always forget something that is in the frig which should be on the table.

  39. I normally order my groceries online and when I pick them up – I can use my coupons. I start shopping early and wrapping Christmas gift early too. They can be stored in totes in a spare room or garage. If you have a great group of friends, do a cookie exchange so you only have to bake on kind of cookie and then exchange with your friends to have an assortment. I write down gifts as they are purchased and then again as they are wrapped or you can check them off your bought list so you do not over buy. I also ask some of the family to pick up small items as they are heading in like fresh bread or bagels.

  40. I make a list and schedule of all the foods that need to be cooked, which dishes they will be cooked in, what temperature they need to cook and for how long, and which dishes can share the oven. It’s a bit of work, but worth it since it saves my sanity!

  41. Picking up groceries or having them delivered is priceless!! I start cleaning each room, one a day for the week before the party so I don’t get burnt out. Asking people to bring supplies or more groceries helps take one more thing off your list! Delegate! 🙂

  42. At the beginning of the season I hit the grocery store and I stock up on non-perishable snacks. I’m talking about things like cheeses and pickles, really nice crackers. Things that I can keep in the fridge or on the shelf waiting for that sudden drop in guest or party that we have to attend and bring something to. I can’t to tell you how many times it has saved me over the years. It’s my best stress reducing tip for the holidays.

  43. The best tip I could give is to make a list and keep things simple. I always get my kids involved. They can help cut the fruits. Make sure to always bake your desserts first since they don’t have to stay warm.

  44. I try to start cleaning a week before, doing a few sections a day. It makes it much less work when the last minute clean happens

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