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Holiday Party Planning Tips

How to protect yourself when hosting a holiday party

Hosting a holiday party requires a lot of preparation – you have to decide on food to serve, music to play, decorations to put up, and whom to invite. But more important than knowing which hors d'oeuvres to pass, is knowing how to protect yourself as the host of the party. Take a look at these 6 tips before hosting your next holiday party.

1. Review social host liability laws

Social host liability refers to the criminal and civil responsibility of a host furnishing liquor to guests. These laws vary from state to state, so make sure to review your local laws before serving alcohol at your party.

Having your party at a venue rather than on your property will help minimize your Liability. If you decide to host the party in your home, consider purchasing a special events policy at a nominal fee to protect yourself from additional liability exposures and liquor liability if needed.

Speak to your Family Risk Manager to review your homeowners and umbrella policies for any exclusions or limitations your coverage might have that could impact your social liability risk.

2. Drink responsibly

Protect yourself by keeping your guests safe. If you’re hosting the party on your property, hire a licensed bartender to prevent your guests from being overserved. If there’s not a designated driver for the party, make sure that all of your guests have a safe ride home via a taxi or rideshare service. Have plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages available, and stop serving alcohol toward the end of the night.

3. Take inventory of your home

If your guest list includes more than just close friends and family, make sure to update your home inventory before the party. If anything were to be damaged or stolen during the party, you want to make sure you can file a claim quickly and easily. 

Learn how to create a home inventory here. In addition, make sure all valuables are locked away or stored safely out of sight of visitors. 

4. Be a courteous neighbor

If they’re not already invited, give your neighbors a heads up that you’ll be hosting a large party. Letting them know ahead of time to expect extra cars in the neighborhood, loud music, or any other potential disturbances will hopefully prevent any complaints the night of.

Tell guests where they should/shouldn’t park so your neighbors don’t get blocked in their driveway or upset by people parked on their property. And always make sure to promptly clean up any messes outside after your party.

5. Hire a babysitter/nanny

If you don’t already have a nanny scheduled to work during your party, consider hiring a babysitter for the night to watch any children in attendance. Whether they remain in the house during the party, or spend the night elsewhere, make sure children are looked after and stay safe (especially if there’s alcohol around) while you’re busy hosting.

6. Prep your steps

Winter weather can result in snowy, icy, or slippery surfaces. Remember to shovel and salt/sand your driveway along with any walkways and steps your guests will be using. Warn your guests ahead of time of any slippery areas they’ll walk through when entering your home.

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