Family Magazine

Secrets to Planning a Successful Holiday Kids Party and Entertainment

By Stevezany @stevezany

Secrets to Planning a Successful Holiday Kids Party and Entertainment - RI Magician Kids Party Ventriloquist Steve Zany

September 1st Marks the Kids Holiday Party Planning Countdown

The holidays always seem to arrive before you know it. If you are planning a kids holiday party for your company, organization or youth group be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get organized. Otherwise, your best-intended efforts can get stressful, quickly because things book fast just after Labor Day. There’s lots of competition for everything that goes into planning a great kids holiday party, especially as more organizations give increased attention to family events, as opposed to adult-only gatherings.

Given that kids holiday parties often begin as soon as December starts, the savviest event planners give themselves a window of three months to plan.

That means you should consider getting your plans in order starting around September 1st.

Here’s some suggestions to make sure everything goes smoothly and to ensure your event is stress free and successful and that you come out looking a top notch event planner.

During September:

  • Form a committee to assist you and begin to determine what roles people are interested in.
  • Choose a date and time for your kids holiday party
  • Set your budget.
  • Determine how large your group will be.
  • Decide on the party length.
  • Book a venue that will accommodate your group as soon as you can. (The availability of function halls, country clubs, restaurants and community halls can go quickly.)
  • Reserve a caterer, if necessary.
  • Figure out the itinerary and account for ‘schedule creep’ (i.e., delays that occur that are often beyond your control). For example, if you will want to schedule kids party entertainment, be sure to build in 30-minutes extra time for food serving delays. Such delays happen more often than not and most kids party entertainers who are busy this time of year have tight windows of availability.
  • Speaking of kids party entertainment, now is the time to book that magician, clown, balloon twister, puppeteer, musician or the like. Be aware of the pitfalls of dealing with an entertainment agency. Please refer to my A-Z Party Checklist for Hiring a Kids Magician, which contains criteria you can easily apply for selecting any form of kids performer.
  • Be sure to get a performance agreement, W-9 form and certificate of insurance from the kids party performer, if necessary . If possible, withhold payment on a final balance until they arrive at your party.
  • Now also is the time to hire someone to visit as Santa Claus. The best kids party entertainment and Santa Claus characters book up quickly, so getting a head start and avoiding procrastination is important.
  • Make sure the place that will host your party can accommodate any set up requirements of the kids party entertainer.
  • Work with your committee to develop a checklist of action items. Prioritize the list by creating three categories of action items: Must Dos, Should Dos and Nice-to-Dos. During the coming two months, focus on what is most important on your checklist.

During October:

  • Meet with your holiday party planning committee regularly. Schedule regular meeting dates on the calendar.
  • If you’ve been dubbed the party coordinator, feel encouraged to delegate assignments.
  • Work through your checklist with the committee.

During November:

  • One month before the party date, send out invites and request RSVPs. Give recipients two weeks to respond which gives you about two weeks lead time to buy enough presents for the kids.

The Week Before the Party

  • Follow-up with the venue and cater and confirm all the details.
  • Make a confirmation call to your kids party entertainment and Santa Claus, if you’ll be having such guests. Provide them with clear details about how your holiday party will progress. Confirm your kids party entertainment understand what is expected of them, at what time, and for how long. be sure they have your mobile phone number and you have theirs.
  • Wrap kids presents at least a week before the holiday party, rather than leaving it to the last minute. It’s a busy time of year for everyone.

The Day of the Holiday Party

  • Arrive to your event early to ensure the room is ready for you (i.e., clean, tables set and positioned properly) and that you have time to decorate, as needed.
  • Have signs posted at the parking lot, doors and hallways so guests know where to go. Some function halls can be quite busy this time of year and your guests will appreciate your efforts to point them in the right direction.
  • Have one point of contact for onsite staff, the caterer and kids entertainment. That coordinator should be capable of managing the day and being able to handle the unexpected.

Of course, such a list is just the beginning. If there’s something you’d like me to add that’s worked for you, please pass along your comments below.

Most importantly, remember, when it comes to planning your kids holiday party, the farther out you plan, the better.


Steve Zany, RI MA Kids Party Magician Ventriloquist

RI Magician Kids Party Ventriloquist Steve Zany - Nickelodeon Parents Pick Award Winner!

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