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Holidays & Entertaining

Company’s coming? The basics of entertaining, from how much to serve to stress-free party ideas.

Gift boxes


12 Steps to Planning a Bridal Shower 

Everything you need to know about showering the bride-to-be. 

Pick a date.Showers should be held about two weeks to two months before the wedding. Earlier is better.

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Christmas wreath

Holiday Open-House Party Checklist

  • Send the invitations.
  • Plan a stress-free menu.
see the full list ›
Thanksgiving feast

Thanksgiving Potluck Checklist

  • It’s your party, so feel free to ask some of your guests to bring specific dishes.
  • Let guests know at what temperature you will be roasting the turkey.
see the full list ›

26 Steps to Planning the Ultimate Party

  • Make an invitation list.
  • Decide on a theme, if you want one.
see the full list ›
Gift decorated with star stickers

Christmas Countdown Checklist

  • Make a family plan.
  • Buy plane tickets.
see the full list ›
Mocha-Walnut Brownies

Dessert Party Checklist

  • Make an invitation list.
  • Send invitations.
see the full list ›
4 tropical cocktails

42 Home Bar Essentials

  • Bourbon
  • Cointreau or triple sec (some people swear Cointreau is worth the money even if you mix it)
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Gift tied with green ribbon

Baby Shower Planning Checklist

  • Determine who hosts.
  • Set a budget.
see the full list ›
Bakers Sto ’N Go Container

Holiday Cookie Exchange Checklist

  • Invite friends.
  • Determine how much everyone will make.
see the full list ›
White wine bottle

24 Ways to Prepare for a Dinner Party

  • Choose a theme, if you want one.
  • Extend invitations.
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Real Simple July 2005

Picnic-Packing Checklist

  • Casual foods, preferably sandwiches or other things you can eat without utensils.
  • Ice pack or bags of ice.
see the full list ›
Wrapping supplies

Holiday Organizing Checklist

  • 1. Create a holiday planning binder to stay on track over the holidays.
  • 2. About a month before the holidays, write a list of the people for whom you will be buying gifts,
see the full list ›
Variety of cheeses

Cheese Party Checklist

  • 3/4 pound blue cheese
  • 3/4 pound semifirm cheese
see the full list ›
Friends watching football

11 Super Bowl Party Must-Haves

  • Super Bowl decorations.
  • Coolers, buckets, or small tubs for drinks.
see the full list ›
Winter Vista Card by Peagreen

Holiday Card Checklist

  • Update your address list.
  • Write a list of the people to whom you will be sending cards,
see the full list ›
Woman at Halloween party table

Halloween Party Checklist

  • Candy and loot bags.
  • Punch bowl.
see the full list ›
Gifts wrapped in blue paper with jingle bells and tiny handmade paper fan

Child’s Away-From-Home Birthday Party Checklist

  • Discuss with your child what kind of party he or she wants and whom to invite.
  • Pick a date.
see the full list ›
Birthday cake

37 Steps to Planning Your Child’s Birthday Party

  • Discuss with your child what kind of party he or she wants.
  • Decide whom to invite.
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Woman and children at a bake sale

19 Tips for a Successful Bake Sale

  • If you don’t already have one in mind, select a charity to donate your earnings to.
  • Solicit volunteers by posting sign-up sheets, sending e-mails, or making phone calls.
see the full list ›

7 Steps to Starting a Book Club

  • Decide on the tone and theme of the club.
  • Spread the word.
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Whole Turkey

Step-by-Step Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Checklist

  • Make the cider glaze for the Cider-Glazed Turkey; refrigerate.
  • Make the gravy base for the Bourbon Gravy; refrigerate. (Alternatively, make and freeze up to 1 month in advance.)
see the full list ›
Mom’s Southern Pecan Pie

Your Ultimate Thanksgiving Timeline

  • Decide which recipes you want to make, keeping in mind that there’s only so much one person―and one kitchen―can do. If you really do need 10 side dishes, look for recipes that use the same oven temperature, so they can cook at the same time, says Bluysen.After you narrow down your menu, reread the recipes that remain. Most can be broken into steps that you can do ahead of time. Then make a list of what you want to get done on each of the days leading up to Thanksgiving, says Bluysen. “I really think if you go through it enough times, you will be more relaxed,” she says.
see the full list ›
Classic Champagne Cocktail

14 Steps to Preparing for a Party

  • Reserve a coatrack at a local party-rental supply.
see the full list ›
White towels

14 Things to Do Before Houseguests Arrive

  • Have a spare key made.
  • Make the bed with clean sheets.
see the full list ›
Stacked suitcases

14 Holiday Travel Essentials

  • An efficient carry-on bag.
  • A bulky outfit for the plane.
see the full list ›
Stack of colorful vintage suitcases

Holiday Carry-On Luggage Restrictions Checklist

  • Cranberry sauce
  • Creamy dips and spreads, including soft cheeses and peanut butter
see the full list ›
Newsletter checklist

Complete these seven chores before hitting the hay and you'll be better prepared for whatever the day throws at you.

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