MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – Christmas may be wrapping up for this year but a week full of holiday parties still lies ahead.

Whether you’re planning a multi-course meal or just a small get-together with friends, it takes time and effort to throw a party.

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Whatever the size of your shindig, here are seven tips to help with your holiday gathering.

Plan the menu. If you plan on having others bring a dish to share, ask around the time you invite them. That way your guests have plenty of notice to shop and cook. As for your grocery list: Do an initial shop two weeks out and save one last trip for fresh items (like produce or cheese) a few days prior. From traditional to potluck, you’ll want to make sure you have enough food and beverages for your holiday guests. If you’re serving alcoholic beverages, keep in mind your host liquor liability.

Schedule your oven. It’s a good idea to have your temperature and cooking/baking times handy, so you don’t have to look up recipes at the last minute. As you get busy, make sure to keep a watchful eye on your stove and oven. December is a common month for home fires.

Consider the kids. If you know kids are coming, it’s good to have a few activities or age-appropriate toys to keep them busy. You might even want to queue up a family-friendly movie.

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Space out your cleaning tasks. Instead of rushing around an hour before guests arrive, do a little bit each day on the week leading up to your event. Maybe it’s dusting on Monday, clearing the clutter Tuesday, bathrooms Wednesday, changing towels and setting up the drink station on Thursday and doing a final sweep on the Friday before your party.

Give a warm welcome. It might be obvious, but make sure to greet your guests as close to the time of their arrival as possible. Sometimes you might not be at the door when they walk in, but make sure you welcome them – especially if they are new guests to your home. Also, it’s polite to share where a close bathroom is so they don’t need to ask.

Provide a coat/bag check. Designate an area for coats and/or purses. You could clear out space in your closet or designate a guest bedroom to place items.

Don’t forget the finishing touches. Lighting candles, turning on your party playlist and making sure the ice bucket is filled are all things that can be done right before guests arrive. Also, make sure there is enough toilet paper in the bathroom and the hand soap and towels are freshly stocked.

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