May 25, 2007, Newsletter Issue #139: Avoid Christmas Party Pitfalls

Tip of the Week

A Christmas party at your house can be a lot of fun. It can also be pretty stressful. Avoid possible problems now by thinking ahead. Here is some advice from the experts so this holiday soiree will be a blast and not your last.

When deciding who to invite, take into account the size of your place and the fact that some guests will probably bring a friend or two without asking you.If you're trying to cut down your guest list, think about cutting work friends first. Remember, if there is a company Christmas party, you can mingle with your co-workers then. Do all your inviting at once so no one feels like they were an afterthought. Give clues as to how people should dress on your invite. Use words like "casual" or "black tie" or "business casual" to avoid making quests feel self-conscious when they arrive too dressy or too dressed down.Have your party on a weekend leading up to Christmas and not after Christmas as most people have turned their attention toward New Year's Eve at that point. Do not have your party on Christmas Eve, as most people prefer to spend time with their families on that day.If you're on a fixed budget plan a potluck dinner and ask everyone to bring a dish. Set a budget for decorations and food. Write down all the must-haves and estimate how much each item will cost next to it. Once at the market, don't buy anything that's not on the list unless it's something important that you forgot. Impulse buys are the quickest way to go over budget. Expect to spend at least $50 on food if you're feeding 10 -- more if you are feeding more people than that. If you are planning on serving alcohol, give guests a heads up so they can plan on a designated driver or other way home. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year's is the most deadly on United States roads due to driving under the influence of alcohol, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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