Plan your holiday party

Home for the holidays this year? The holidays — Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa,New Year’s Eve — are stressful enough on their own. But planning a party too?

Home for the holidays this year? The holidays — Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa,New Year’s Eve — are stressful enough on their own. But planning a party too?

Whether this is your first party or your 25th, the holidays are the perfect background for a party, mainly because the house already is cleaned and decorated.

“We always have an annual holiday party for family,” said Susann Stergios. “I always try to start early because I want to enjoy the party.”

Their first stop is the Pine Tree Barn to get into the holiday spirit.

“Our secret is the Saturday after Thanksiving, we (she and husband, Fred) go to the Pine Tree Barn and pick out our fresh-cut Christmas tree,” she said. “We listen to Christmas carols all the way there and back, then we start decorating.”

Anne Haines, store manager for Canton Chair Rental, offers more tips.

“It is never too early to start,” she said, noting that one of the first decisions to make is what type of party you want. “Will it be formal or casual? How many guests will you invite?”

From there, it is just a matter of the types of food you serve, the music you choose, and the people you invite.

PARTY PLANNING IDEAS

HERE ARE SOME IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED ON PLANNING YOUR HOLIDAY PARTY THIS YEAR:
 Plan ahead and let guests know the date, time, location and type of party (formal, informal, etc.)

 Choose the type of food you want to serve. For a casual party, you may want to choose finger foods that can be served at room temperature rather than foods that need to be kept hot or cold. Or is a sit-down, formal dinner more to your liking? If the latter is the case, will you have it catered or will you prepare the meal yourself?

 Once the food is chosen, decide what types of drinks you will serve — Wine? Beer? Eggnog, wassail or hot cocoa? Soft drinks?

Take an inventory of your place settings, serving trays, etc. If you are lacking in these areas, there are several places in Stark County to rent these items if you would rather not purchase them. Most can provide serving pieces, chairs, tables, linens — whatever you need (see box below).

 On a tight budget? Ask friends and family to bring a covered dish.

 Set up a coffee station for a casual party. By setting up a large coffee maker in advance, your time will be freed up during the party.

 Choose the type of music according to the type of party you are planning. It is usually best to choose instrumental so the words of the song are not competing with the conversation. The aroma of your home should not be overwhelming to your guests. The scent of simmering mulling spices is always comforting and inviting.

 Since your home already is decorated for the holidays, add lights for atmosphere to wreaths and centerpieces.

 And if you are attending a party, not giving one, don’t forget to take a hostess gift with you.

WHERE TO TURN FOR HELP

Planning a holiday party and you don’t have enough serving pieces, holiday linens, china or glassware? Relax. You can rent everything you need. Here are some rental places you can call for help on the basics.

Alliance Table & Chair Rental, (330) 823-5105
Canton Chair Rental, (330) 477-7719
Miller’s Party Rental, (330) 494-8836
Schrader’s Rental Center, (330) 456-3815
Sitting Pretty Linens Chaircovers & More, (330) 733-3334
Sully’s Rent All, (330) 494-0555

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass