Hosting a holiday party for your family and friends always seems like a great idea. But as the date draws near, you may find that you are more stressed out than you are excited. But it doesn’t have to be that way. These ten tips will help you enjoy your holiday gathering as much as your guests with minimal stress and maximum fun.
1. Make a master list you can keep in your phone or on your computer. This may be the single best thing you can do to prepare for your party. Make a list for cleaning, shopping, buying gifts and anything else you need. You’ll have all of your tasks organized in one place, and you’ll feel good as you check items off.
2. Keep recipes simple. After the holidays, you can have all the dinner parties you’d like with complex or difficult recipes. Keep your holiday food as fuss-free as possible. You’ll have more time to enjoy your company.
3. Prepare as much as possible in advance. Before you start cooking, clean your home so you’re not stressing out about it while you prepare the food. Make sure you create conversation areas for your party guests to mingle—arrange your couches, occasional chairs and other furniture to face each other to make it easier for them to converse. Once your home is ready, prep food and make any dishes in advance that you can.
4. Instead of having a full bar, just get some beer or wine and stick to one special holiday cocktail. You’ll have fun coming up with the perfect cranberry martini or candy cane cocktail recipe without the stress of buying every kind of liquor and mixer.
5. Don’t feel obligated to host a formal sit-down dinner, especially if you family is casual. If you’ll have a lot of company, set up a buffet. Just leave plenty of room for people to maneuver around the table－and make sure you have plenty of seating options. Bar stools and ottoman furniture will work in a pinch.
6. Set the mood with a happy playlist. Start playing it long before the guests arrive and you’ll be full of holiday cheer by the time your party stars.
7. Allow yourself to accept help. When people ask what they can bring, suggest something you’ll need. They’ll enjoy helping and you’ll love not having to do it all.
8. Enhance the atmosphere with string lights and candles that cast a soft glow. It’s hard to be stressed out when your home is lulling you into a peaceful state!
9. Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep and don’t let your list overwhelm you.
10. Most importantly, do not try or expect to be perfect. You don’t have to make your grandmother’s casserole just like she did or live up to every other family obligation.