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Have a holly jolly party this year!

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Tis the season for open houses and holiday gatherings. When it comes to planning the ultimate holiday bash, you can create a memorable event and keep your holly jolly spirit, all at the same time.

"When party planning, remember it doesn”t have to be perfect," says Heather Sinyard, founder of Sterling Event Planning. "Some of the best parties I”ve been to started with an Evite and included pizza."

The main thing people take away from an event is whether they felt comfortable and had a good time. Preplanning helps ensure a great event.

"A great host or hostess is a proficient organizer – planning food, decorations and entertainment," says BB Webb owner of the Carl House. She recommends creating a guest list and budget before doing anything else.

On the day of the party be ready early. "Have drinks ready to go, the music playing, candles burning, hors d”oeuvres ready to serve and be present to greet each and every person who arrives," Webb adds.

Lindy Barnwell, director and founder of The Barnwell School, which offers local etiquette courses, says it”s important to monitor alcohol consumption during holiday parties. "Wine glasses shouldn”t be filled more than half full."

Sinyard, Webb and Barnwell offered a few other reminders.

To be the perfect host:

  • Set your budget for the event ahead of time.
  • Follow up with your guests.
  • Be ready early.
  • You are responsible for making guest feel welcome and introducing them to others.
  • Get on your guests” calendars six weeks in advance.
  • During the busy holiday season, consider having a brunch.
  • Wear your manners 365 days a year, so they appear naturally during special events.
  • Never let someone feel unwelcome, but learn social cues for graceful event endings.
  • Make your home slightly cooler than normal. Extra bodies make extra heat.

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