Christmas Party Checklist

Planning is the key to make your holiday entertaining really come together. This Christmas party checklist will help ensure you have everything you need to create memorable get-togethers.

Christmas Parties 101

Throwing the perfect holiday party is all about planning and prepping ahead so you can relax and enjoy the party along with your guests. There are two typical holiday parties — the more intimate type with a set start time and guest list, and the more casual open house where lots of guests come and go over a designated period of time. Having a set time for your fete lets family and friends mingle and allows you to organize food and entertainment. But if you want to see more people, an open house lets you invite more guests without needing a big space. Either way, choosing a theme that ties together the food, decor and activities can make hosting easier and more entertaining. Just be sure to give your guests all the details in advance (attire, what to bring etc.).

Key Party Areas



Mail or email invitations with details including date, time, place and theme, so your guests have enough notice to RSVP and manage their holiday schedules. Keep tabs on RSVPs to help calculate your food, drink and other requirements.


Serve foods you can prepare in advance to minimize kitchen prep on the day of the party. Create a schedule of when each dish can be made, as well as a shopping list so all ingredients are on hand. Enable guests to self-serve at hot beverage and dessert stations, so you can relax and entertain.


Create a self-serve refreshment area with glasses and garnishes. Pre-mixed bowls of punch allow guests to help themselves.
Soda pop
Sparkling water

Setting the Table

Take inventory of all the serving dishes, stemware and flatware you’ll need for the expected turnout. On average, you should count on two plates, two forks and two glasses per guest.


Keep your decor festive, unfussy and affordable by sourcing natural objects from around your home and garden, such as pine boughs, pine cones and berry branches and arrange with decorative or scented candles. If you have a theme in mind, consider buying, borrowing or renting decor items and accessories.

Music & Entertainment

Holiday music can set the right tone as long as it’s in the background and at a comfortable volume. It’s a good idea to plan a few party games or holiday activities for younger guests, such as decorating gingerbread men or caroling karaoke, or set up a separate room where kids can hang out together.

Christmas Party Countdown

The more you plan ahead, the more time you’ll have to relax with friends and family on the day of your party. This party planning checklist sets out the simple steps for a stress-free occasion.
One month before
• Choose a date, time and place for your party
• Pick a theme and plan the music, decor and activities
• Assess your needs and create a shopping list
• Set a budget and itemize your spending
• Create a guest list, send invites and keep track of RSVPs
• Order party supplies and decorations
Two weeks before
• Plan your food and beverage menu and create a shopping list
• Buy all non-perishable foods and drinks
• Plan any games and activities and buy or borrow the supplies you need
• Stock your bar with wine and spirits
• Create a music playlist and set up your sound system
One week before
• Clean your house and arrange the furniture to optimize floor plan
• Prepare any main dish items that can be frozen in advance
• Decorate your home with greenery and natural accents or themed decor
• Create closet space with extra hangers or a drop zone for coats and outerwear
• Call guests who haven’t responded to get an accurate head count
Two days before
• Buy all perishable food items
• Move any make-ahead foods from the freezer to the fridge to defrost
• Launder and iron linens and cloth napkins
• Take inventory of your serving ware and wash glassware, dishes and silverware
• Set the buffet table with plates, serving platters, flatware and napkins
One day before
• Prep foods that can be refrigerated, such as sauces, salad dressings and greens
• Marinate meats and chop fruits and vegetables
• Tidy your home with a quick once-over
• Prep the guest bathroom with clean hand towels and soap
• Set out party favours
Two or three hours before
• Set the table with appetizers and snacks that won’t spoil and cover with plastic wrap
• Turn on your music playlist
• Get dressed and ready to party!
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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