The Winter Holiday Checklist
A suggested schedule for planning a large house party for Christmas or New Year’s. It works for either.
1.Somewhere Between July and September:
Determine the following:
Home or away?
Number of family, guests, how long to stay?
Travel/pick up for family/guests, who will pay?
Outside accommodation if there is not adequate space in the house?
Meals at home, in restaurants? Which?
Timetable of events?
Presents to be bought, for whom, and what?
2. Christmas tree(s), decorations, Santa Claus, disco, dance, other?
3. Printing of invites, special Christmas cards, Thank You cards, menus, local events, special events?
Commissioning of special presents?
Staff Christmas party, presents and bonus? What, how much?
Special themes, dress, songs, music?
4. Book as needed:
Hotel rooms or space
Theater, concert tickets
Temp agencies for waiters, drivers, household help
Tent in hot climates if necessary
Disco, Band, Santa Claus actor, etc.
5. Draw Up Checklists for staff use
6. Hold meeting with chef and housekeeper; brief them and give them their checklists, adjust checklists according to their input
7. At the next staff meeting brief the staff on the plans and schedule extra time off later, discuss bonus and party for families as well, discuss reimbursement if they have already made other plans on presentation of receipts if the person is willing to change their plans.
If the staff really cannot be present, cover with temporary agency staff/ contacts you have
8. Determine and arrange any special transportation and accommodation needed for staff, and iron out any further problems or objections, enlisting their superiors or those they look up to, for assistance in resolving.
9. Chef to propose menus for whole period, including staff meals.
10. Employers approval obtained.
Beginning of September
11. Order, food, wine, non alcoholic drinks, spirits, dry goods, specially commissioned works, flowers, printing job, videos, confectionery and Christmas tree
12. Purchase the following:
Decorations for trees, rooms, outside the house
Wrapping paper, ribbon, gift tags, tape, bows
Games to play
Presents for family, guests, friends staff
13. send off invitations to guests along with hotel and flight info if necessary
14. Check all guest rooms and ensure they have any needed upgrades/re-decoration done
15. Investigate church, community, cultural activities, listing out on a schedule basis with details and addresses. Add proposed schedule of events for Christmas and or New Year’s. Obtain necessary approval from employers, print out and distribute.
16. Bring in maintenance men to service, fridge, freezer, fan and all electrical, gas and fire appliances
17. Have the household cars serviced as needed.
Beginning Of December
18. Send gifts and Christmas cards at the beginning of the month
19. Confirm all orders and bookings and handle any problems
20. Contact all guests who have not yet responded, forming arrival and departure dates, special diets, and pet needs
21. In the event of any guests unable to come, confer with employer and contact secondary guests as needed.
22.Family to decorate the tree if that is their tradition, otherwise staff to do it
23.Presents put under the tree, stuffed into stockings
24. Ensure arrival of : drinks, food, flowers, printed menus, schedule, presents, tickets, dry goods, costumes, confectionery, decorations, and videos.
25. Guests picked up and brought to the house if necessary
26. Those staying at hotel taken directly there to unpack and freshen up. Phone them on arrival to ensure everything all right and to arrange their pick up and transport to the house if necessary.
26. Put on buffet dinner
27. Put out Christmas stockings
28. Set up breakfast, tea and lunchrooms (prep and clean)
29. Give staff a very good breakfast before nine in the morning
30. Do the usual morning teas, etc. with a Christmas twist
31. Breakfast may be a leisurely affair with a very wide selection. During the meal go over the lunch menu and note any special requests.
32. Adjourn to the living room where presents are distributed by Santa Claus or the employer and unwrapped, someone should note who gave what to whom for later thank yous.
33. Guests then scatter to take a walk, play, Church, and are offered refreshments when they appear at random.
34. Luncheon is served either informally in the dining room or kitchen depending on schedule.
35. Dinner is served in the dining room at the appointed hour, either as a buffet or sit down meal depending on the size of the guest list.
36. When dinner is over clear, clean and set up for the next day.
37. Ensure thank you cards are sent for all gifts from the family.