Hosting a holiday party can lead to a great time – or an epic nightmare. You want your guests to be happy, but you also need to avoid any potentially dangerous situations.

  1. Decide whether this will be for all ages or adults only. If you choose not to invite children, make sure your guests know this, and be firm about it. If you allow children, be sure to child-proof the open areas of your home, and keep the spiked eggnog out of reach.
  2. Pick a guest number and stick to it. Planning a party with six guests is much different from planning a party for 30 guests. Talk to your guests so you know who’s planning to attend, and check whether they plan to bring anyone else.
  3. Be flexible. Yes, you want to plan ahead, but also keep in mind that nothing works out exactly as we intended. If guests are a little late, or if someone unexpected shows up, try not to stress out. Everyone’s there to have a good time.
  4. Keep your pets away. Even if your dog is normally well-behaved, a party might stress the poor pooch out, and some of your guests may suffer from pet allergies. Besides, you don’t want your cats and dogs running out the front door each time it opens. Keep your animals in a separate part of your home.
  5. Serve plenty of food. You don’t want your guests leaving early because they need to get something to eat. To cut costs, serve cheap, filling items like chips and carrots in addition to the nicer options. Ask your guests ahead of time about any food allergies, and serve a variety of options to suit different dietary restrictions.
  6. Provide appropriate activities and music. If you’re hosting a smaller party, a party game might be a good option. Music is always good, but don’t play it so loud that it makes conversation difficult – or angers the neighbors.
  7. Keep off-limit areas off limits. It’s understandable if you don’t want your guests in every part of your home. If you’re hosting children, this may be important for safety reasons, too. Keep doors closed if you don’t want anyone to enter them, and consider putting signs on the doors.
  8. Provide a smoking area. If your guests smoke, designate a smoking area, and provide an ash tray.
  9. Provide non-alcoholic beverages. Even if your party is for adults only, you want to make sure everyone has appetizing non-alcoholic options. This will help people space out their cocktails, and it will give the designated drivers something good to sip.
  10. Don’t let your guests drive home drunk. If your guests are drinking, make sure they have a safe and sober ride home.

As always, make sure your home is protected with homeowners or renters insurance. In addition to property coverage, these policies typically include some liability protection.