When it comes to holiday party hosting, think simple, not stressful. Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in creating Pinterest boards, feeling the pressure to try complicated (but impressive!) recipes and decorating your house to the nines in order to impress your crew. However, it helps to bring yourself back to the fact of the matter: The holidays are about family time and togetherness. This is much easier said than done. Here are some tips to help you host a fabulous but stress-free holiday party this season.
- Ask for Help
Offering up your house earns you some brownie points, so don’t be afraid to delegate! Whether it’s sides, drinks or dessert, don’t hesitate to take people up on their “what can I bring?” offers. If all else fails, employ the family that lives under your roof. If they will be enjoying the party, they can help you prepare for it!
- Visit the Dollar Store
Yes, that’s right, the dollar store. Here you can stock up on the necessities like paper plates, cups, paper towels and more, without breaking the bank. Plus, you just might find more goodies like candles and holiday décor – all at way less than other stores.
- Clean (and Maybe Even Cook) the Day Before
The day of, you’re sure to think of 15 more things you need to do before guests arrive. Do yourself a favor and handle the cleaning in the days leading up to the event. Remember, if push comes to shove, you can always stow clutter in that room at the end of the hallway, as long as you shut the door. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, knock some of the cooking off the list as well. You will most definitely thank yourself later.
- Consider Catering
Some find cooking enjoyable. Others can think of 45 (awful) things they’d rather do than step foot in the kitchen. If you belong to the latter group, you might consider hiring someone else to make the food. It’s guaranteed to be delicious – and it’s up to you if you divulge who the true cook was. This is stress-free cooking at its finest.
- Build a Seating Chart
If your party will include a formal dinner, you might want to think about assigned seating. Have a dear friend who’s a Social Security attorney? Make sure you don’t seat him near your old uncle Larry, who is having a hard time receiving his benefits. Try to pinpoint any potential conflicting personalities as well, to help keep the peace.
- Make it Cozy
Ensure your guests feel comfortable in your home by surveying the scene. Is the layout of the furniture conducive to conversation and relaxation? If not, do some strategic shifting to facilitate flow and provide multiple seating areas.
- Set the Stage
You don’t need to go all out, but adding some finishing touches will make your home sparkle for guests. Bring out some festive throw pillows, light some candles, consider a holiday-themed table centerpiece, dim the lighting and voila – consider the stage set.
- Bring out the Games
Mix it up a bit by playing games. Here’s a list of some of our favorites. Ranging from great ice-breakers to adults-only, playing one (or a couple) is sure to liven things up and keep your guests entertained and talking about your party for years to come.
- Anticipate Some Hiccups
Try to minimize stress by having extra food on hand, some club soda in case there’s a spill and some extra gifts in case your guests bestow one upon you. But remember, these hiccups are not the end of the world and they are bound to happen. (It’s human nature!) Remember to breathe, and promise to not let small speed bumps throw a wrench in throwing a great holiday party.
Above all else, remember there’s enough fun to go around, so have some yourself! If you’re calm and relaxed, your guests are likely to follow suit. You put a lot of work into this party, so enjoy it!