When and How to Start Planning Your Holiday Party

When and How to Start Planning Your Holiday Party

Author: Gillian Barnes/Wednesday, September 6, 2017/Categories: All, Functions, Dining

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We know what you are thinking, it’s early September, why in the world would you want to begin holiday planning in summer? Well, there are a few reasons! First, Fall is almost unanimously heralded as the shortest-feeling season and it starts on September 22nd, which is astonishingly less than three weeks away. Second, holiday parties aren’t easy to plan. They involve preemptive cleaning, guest list generation, food choices, theme selection and so much more!

We think that our Wedding Sales Manager, Jennifer Chipman sums it up well, “Nowadays our holidays are filled with lists, lists, and more lists.  Hosting a family gathering or dinner will add more lists.  Invite list, recipe lists, grocery lists, beverage list, decoration lists, never mind the list of the cleaning to be done. For a hostess this can make the holidays less about time with family and celebration and more about the endless lists of to-do’s.  Selecting a venue to host your gatherings will eliminate all but the invite list for you!  Working with our event staff you’ll be able to select a menu that suites your gathering and budget. You’ll leave the setup, cooking and cleaning to us while you enjoy the evening with family and friends.”

So, when is the right time to start planning? Well, we would argue that it’s now – so let’s get started.

We have already noted that now is the optimal time to start planning, but what should you start with?

Select a Location

Location is probably the most important piece of the holiday party planning process. You can begin determining your location by considering how many people you want to invite. If you are planning a holiday party for your company, consider the number of employees you have plus any additional guests that they may want to bring. Also – if your work event is going to be family-friendly, it’s best to learn ahead of time how many children will be in attendance. Alternatively, if you are planning a family holiday party, consider who will be able to join you and their tastes. In order to host a successful event, it’s really important that you find the best possible fit.

Once you have determined your capacity requirements, consider what type of party you would like to have. Are you open to a joint atmosphere with multiple companies utilizing the same space? Are you seeking a more intimate space that offers family activities? Maybe you are interested in a sit-down dinner with a customizable menu? Make sure to do research on everything the venue can offer so that when you book, you will have confidence in your decision.

And, if you are feeling lost for location inspiration, we have options for you. For instance, at Atkinson Resort & Country Club, you can book your own holiday party for anywhere from 6-600 people. We also host an annual Jingle and Mingle event. Learn more about our function options here.  


Invitations are the second most important item you will need to check off your list. Will you be sending out formal, printed pieces or will you send them in a more casual manner such as email? If you are having them printed, make sure to budget time to send them to a reputable printer, see proofs and, of course, mail them to the lucky guests.


Of course, the guest list must be generated number-wise early on, but really taking the time to consider who to invite is incredibly important. The guest list will dictate what themes and activities are appropriate.

For a corporate, adults-only affair, a formal sit-down dinner might be appropriate. However, other gatherings may benefit from a more relaxed buffet option. And, if you are including children in your planning process, it’s crucial that you plan appropriate food items and activities so that they remain happy and occupied while the parents have their own fun.


Maybe it’s not the most time-sensitive part of the process, but the food is an important aspect that your guests will remember. Most people will agree that the best part of having your holiday party at a location other than your office or home is there are outside professionals who can handle the dining experience. A venue with on-site food options will be able to help you choose your style of meal (sit-down, buffet or hors d'oeuvres), the specific menu items, the beverages that pair best and will be able to advise you on the timing of the meal. By choosing a venue that specializes in events you will be making a stress-free choice that will delight your guests.


While holiday parties can be simply “holiday” themed, you can also get creative! Do you think that your coworkers would want to let loose with a Casino Night? Would your family enjoy having an on-site Santa? Maybe your group might like the idea of a Masquerade Ball! And, of course, you cannot go wrong with a classic theme like Winter Wonderland. Whatever your theme is, make sure to decide early so that you can spend adequate time dreaming up decorations and favors.

From flowers to photography and musical entertainment, Atkinson Resort & County Club prides ourselves in locating reputable vendors that produce amazing results. We’re happy to provide you with out Preferred Vendors list and will help you in any way we can throughout the process.

One such vendor that can provide you with an instant theme is Stasio’s Photography. In our case, they come on-site and take photos with Santa while we light up the tree! The owner, Pamella Pitman describes the festivities well, "We take a few photos then, Santa enjoys time talking with the kids. They give him there wish list, they talk about what is on that list. Santa gives them a candy cane and off they go to pick up there photo from the printers." 

Photos with Santa

Image courtesy of Stasio's Photography


Holiday parties are events that people look forward to all year long. When you start to plan yours, consider placing your trust in the hands of Atkinson Resort & Country Club. We have seasoned event planners, a delicious holiday menu (which is customizable) and we might be slightly biased, but we think we have the most beautiful setting in the Atkinson area. Sold? Book us today by calling 603.362.8700 or via




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