The holidays are creeping closer, and with that in mind, you might be thinking about the events you have to plan. If you’re in charge of the family’s holiday dinner or your friends’ Thanksgiving dinner, or even if you just like to plan special events, internet access can make things really easy.
Even though texting and emailing can make things go more smoothly than they did in the past, it can sometimes seem confusing and tedious keeping track of all the texts you’re getting, keeping up with everyone’s contributions, making note of who’s going and who isn’t, and remembering who you’ve told what.
With some basic websites and apps, you can make putting together your holiday event (or any event) run much more smoothly. Here are just a few ways you can use the internet to reduce stress this holiday season!
Create a private Facebook event
I’m sure you know you can create Facebook events, but honestly, creating a private one can be a huge time saver. Depending on the group you’ll be inviting, every invitee might already be on Facebook. If they are, it makes things pretty easy. You can choose to make your event private so that only you and the people you invite know it exists. People can leave comments, let you know if they’re going, and get all the details in one place. Of course, if any of the invitees aren’t on Facebook or don’t check it regularly, it might not be the best way to go. Also, people can be flaky when it comes to Facebook invites. They’ll often choose “Interested” and never change the status to “Going,” so it can be hard to get a headcount at times. If these aren’t issues you’re worried about encountering, a private Facebook event may take care of most of your needs.
Use the GroupMe app
GroupMe is a super helpful app when you want to communicate with a group. Everyone knows that group texts can be irritating at times, especially if you’re trapped in one you don’t want to be part of. GroupMe lets you create groups made up of people using the GroupMe app or just people with texting capabilities. If you’re in the group, you can remove yourself or turn off notifications, so you won’t feel trapped. You could use GroupMe to invite people to the party, update them on changes, get their ideas, or anything else. It’s a useful way to communicate with a whole group without making them feel stuck in an unwanted group text.
Use Facebook Messenger to poll guests
Facebook Messenger can work pretty well to form group messages as well, but one particularly cool use for it is polling. If you create a group message with the invitees who are on Facebook, you can message a poll through the app and get peoples’ thoughts in a helpful way. You might need to know what time would work best for everyone, or you could be trying to figure out the best venue. Whatever the case may be, it’s a straightforward way to work out the details of your event, particularly if you already have the Messenger app or if you have access on a desktop.
Set up a Google Doc to keep track of info
Google Docs can be a lifesaver when trying to organize something or work together with a group. If you have a Google account, you can create a Google Doc and invite others to collaborate with you by editing the document. This could make things really well-organized for, say, a potluck. People could edit the document by adding their name and what they were bringing. Then every time someone opened the document, they would be able to see what was already covered and use that to figure out what was still needed. With a Google Doc, it takes some of the responsibility of organizing out of the host’s hands.
Use RSVPify to figure out who’s coming
Finding out who’s coming to an event can sometimes be crucially important. Knowing the attendance numbers can change how much food you make, how much seating is needed, etc. As previously mentioned, it can sometimes be hard to get a true headcount on a Facebook event. That could still be an issue everywhere, but it might make things a little easier if you used a service like RSVPify. You can create a free event and send a link to everyone for them to RSVP. This is especially useful if not all of the invitees are active on Facebook. It also might seem a little more official and important than a Facebook invite, so who knows, you might get a more accurate headcount.
Offer a collaborative playlist for wider music selection
Instead of going to the trouble of putting together a playlist yourself, you can make it a group effort. If you want some mood music for your party, like Christmas music, you can create a collaborative playlist on Spotify and invite other Spotify users to add to it. This way you don’t have to focus on coming up with a full playlist, plus your attendees will get a say in what’s being played for everyone. It’s just one small way that a host can make their guests feel like they’re part of the planning process.