How to take the stress out of planning holiday events

Whether you’re planning a family gathering or coordinating a large holiday event, the proper planning process is essential for success.  Here are some tips to get you pointed in the right direction this festive season:

Goals are the backbone of any event.  When setting your goals ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of this event?
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Who will be attending?
  • Where would you like to host it?
  • When in what time frame?
  • How many people will attend?
  • How will it make your guests feel?

One of the most effective tools I use is the SMART model, here is an example:

Specific: Host a holiday networking social for 20 of our closes friends on December 22.
Measurable:    Contact the 20 invited guests by November 22 letting them know you are planning this event and to ask them to “save the date”.
Attainable: Connect with invited guest by telephone, social media and in person also, as the other invited guest to share the information about the event with their network. Relevant – Invited guest have a long-standing relationships
Time bound: Connect with proposed invite list by November 22,

  • send out the save the date November 25
  • request RSVP by December 15
  • confirm final numbers by December 20
  • host event on December 22.

Having concrete goals and objective clearly stated will help you stay focused, on the things to do and lessen the stress.  Keep checking back daily or weekly to ensure that you are on track or may need to adjust.


Brainstorming – This is the creative part!  What is your theme, colors, feel and design concept? Be as outrageous as you want, think big, and then scale back as needed. Don’t limit yourself to anything, the word “NO” is not an option.  You want to extract the most of your creative when you are going through this process.

Budget – Achieving event goals with exciting creative ideas while staying under budget can be less stressful when you are prepared. Know what your budget is, stick to it, and always have a contingency plan.  It’s easy to break the bank, especially with those last minute impulsive choices. What will keep you accountable are your  GOALS.  Keep referring back to the goals and objectives you set out and ask yourself, will this decision help us achieve our goals.  Is this a “nice to have” or is this a “need to have”.

Planning – Time to get organized and do the work!  You have a goal, a concept and a budget so now you need to get planning!  Deadlines, invitations, bookings…they all need to be allotted for in your timeline. Refer back to the Time bound reference above.  Using a calendar, gantt chart or critical path that highlight milestones will keep you on track, on time and on budget.

So here you go, a starting point to work from. Happy Planning!

I look forward to hearing how you where able to apply these ideas. Check my blog each week for more topics, tips and inspired ideas for planning events.