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Holidays & Entertaining

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

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14 Things to Do Before Houseguests Arrive

Simple ways to make out-of-town visitors feel welcome, comfortable, and pampered.

Have a spare key made.Tell guests where it will be hidden (if they’ll arrive while you’re out) or hand it over when they get there, so they aren’t ringing the doorbell every time they return.

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Christmas wreath

Holiday Open-House Party Checklist

  • Send the invitations.
  • Plan a stress-free menu.
see the full list ›
Turkey on a platter

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 ›
Lanterns

Party Planning Checklist

  • Make an invitation list.
  • Decide on a theme, if you want one.
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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 ›
Clear martini glass

Home Bar Essentials Checklist

  • 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.
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Bakers Sto ’N Go Container

Holiday Cookie Exchange Checklist

  • Invite friends.
  • Determine how much everyone will make.
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White wine bottle

Dinner Party Checklist

  • Choose a theme, if you want one.
  • Extend invitations.
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Pier 1 Melamine Dinner Plates

1 Unforgettable Picnic

  • Casual foods, preferably sandwiches or other things you can eat without utensils
  • Ice pack or bags of ice
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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,
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Variety of cheeses

Cheese Party Checklist

  • 3/4 pound blue cheese
  • 3/4 pound semifirm cheese
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Handmade Leather Football

Super Bowl Party Checklist

  • Super Bowl decorations
  • Coolers, buckets, or small tubs for drinks
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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.
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Halloween Towels by C.S. Post & Co.

Halloween Party Checklist

  • Candy and loot bags
  • Punch bowl
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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.
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We Take the Cake Coconut Layer Cake

Child’s At-Home Birthday Party Checklist

  • Discuss with your child what kind of party he or she wants.
  • Decide whom to invite.
see the full list ›
Chocolate chip cookies

Bake Sale Checklist

  • 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 ›
Books

Start a Book Club Checklist

  • 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

Thanksgiving Preparation Checklist

  • 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 ›
Gift boxes

Bridal Shower Planning Checklist

  • Pick a date.
  • Compile a guest list.
see the full list ›
Stacked suitcases

Holiday Travel Essentials Checklist

  • An efficient carry-on bag.
  • A bulky outfit for the plane.
see the full list ›
Crew 8 Checkpoint-Friendly Brief and 20-inch Rollaboard luggage set

Holiday Carry-On Luggage Restrictions Checklist

  • Cranberry sauce
  • Creamy dips and spreads, including soft cheeses and peanut butter
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Newsletter checklist

How complete is your makeup bag? Be sure to stock these 15 essentials.

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