11/13/2011 09:20 EST | Updated 12/07/2011 10:22 EST

Holiday Party Planning Checklist: Janette Ewan Counts Down The Hosting Tasks


Procrastination is bad, organization is good. It's a lesson that goes for almost every task in life -- especially when planning a party. The more organized you are in the lead up to a party, the more flawless and enjoyable it will be. So here are some of interior stylist and party planning guru Janette Ewan's tips to planning -- and throwing -- the perfect holiday fete.

Three Weeks Before

Get the invitations out: "The earlier you get your invitations out the more time people have to free up their schedule to attend! The holiday party circuit is a busy one for many people so it will allow your guests time to assess their holiday schedule and to RSVP sooner."

Two Weeks Before

Order rentals: "By renting dishware and glassware you can always ensure you'll have enough for everyone and you can even return it all unwashed. It adds an extra sense of ease as a party host and will clear up a lot of the work for when after the party is over."

One Week Before

Stock the bar:"Everyone knows how busy the liquor store gets around the holiday season. Avoid lineups and your favourite alcohol being sold out by stocking up early. It's a simple way to check off a major task before a party." Ewan's go-to brand is [yellow tail].

Three Days Before

Shop for food: "Get everything you need early so you give yourself time to pick up the final things you may have forgotten. Waiting until the day of to get food may result in an extremely stressful day, which, as a host, you definitely don't want."

Two Days Before

Clean the house: "It's the dreaded task that has to happen. Stow away the clutter and mop the floors so your house is sparkling for when your guests arrive. Plus preparing for a party in a clean house gives your mind a sense of clarity, which will help with the ease of a party."

Decorate the house: "After you've cleaned, it's time to give your house holiday ambiance. Bring out your decorations and start placing them accordingly. Make your home feel cozy and warm with decorations and not over the top."

One Day Before

Set the table. "Imagine the ease of just being able to lay out the meal without having to scurry around setting plates and glasses down. You can also prepare seating name tags and organize where you'd like people to sit according to interests. Group people together who you think will get along best."

Day Of

"The day of the event is reserved for final food preparation, setting the bar and a long hot relaxing bath before the party!" says Ewan.

"Take some time for yourself before the party and spend a little longer getting ready. After all, you just spent three weeks preparing for it, you deserve a little extra time. Make sure the bar is stocked and the food is ready to go for when your guests arrive. The key to hosting the perfect holiday party is organization. So make sure to create a personal timeline of when you actually have time to pick up everything you need. This will result in an effortless and fabulous holiday party!"