When planning and hosting a holiday event for friends and family, it is easy to get stressed, out or feel overwhelmed. Especially if this is your first time hosting, it may seem like there is an endless list of ‘to-dos’ to make sure everything is ready. The great news is that hosting does not need to be stressful! By following these 5 tips, you will be able to pull off a great holiday get together, without pulling out all of your hair.

  1. Make a plan and stick to it: You will undoubtedly have a giant list to complete to ensure everything is ready by the time guests arrive. Starting several days before your event, create a list of each item that needs to get done. Schedule this out, not only as a list, but with individual time frames to complete each task. This will keep you on schedule, and ensure you have time to complete everything that needs to be done. Give yourself a bit of extra time for each task, to allow yourself plenty of breathing room, which will prevent feeling stressed over a time crunch.
  2. Take short cuts when cleaning: You are not about to have your house photographed for Better Homes & Gardens, so take a deep breath and relax. With friends and family, the house doesn’t need to look perfect, it just needs to be presentable. Clear off table tops and counters, and use bedroom closets and the space under your bed to hide items you don’t have anywhere to store. Wipe down counters, sweep hardwood or tile floors, and vacuum carpets or rugs. Have old couches? Use throw blankets to cover up any unappealing furniture, and add a new throw pillow, or two, to create a brand new feel. Use seasonal colored linens to cover tables with scratches or water marks, to create a classy setting for your guests to enjoy their meal. When cleaning glasses, or wine glasses, use a coffee filter to remove any hard water marks or finger prints, without scratching the glass!
  3. Have food and décor ready ahead of time: If you are doing any kind of DIY décor, make sure to have it finished at least a week before guests arrive. This will not only ensure your décor is complete, but will also allow you plenty of time to set up. If you are purchasing new décor items, or taking décor out of storage, you will also want to do this at least a week ahead of guests arriving. This again, helps ensure you have plenty of time to decorate your home, without waiting until the last minute. Food prep is another great way to alleviate stress. Cooking in advance, and freezing pre-made sides or desserts, is a great time saver. While guests are buzzing around the house with the excitement of your get together, you can easily re-heat items in the over, instead of spending all day slaving away in the kitchen.
  4. Don’t turn down help: This may seem like a no-brainer, but some of us get in the zone when planning events, and have a very difficult time delegating tasks. If an attending friend or family member offers to bring a side dish, or a dessert, say YES! Accepting a bit of help does not make you any less of a host, it simply helps keep your sanity. Be sure to thank anyone that contributes, as even someone showing up with rolls has saved you from taking care of another item on that to-do list.
  5. Take care of yourself: You are planning, decorating, cooking, and hosting a holiday party. Take time to appreciate yourself, and all the work you are putting in to create a wonderful experience for all of your guests. Treat yourself to getting your hair done, a manicure and pedicure, enjoy a large seasonal latte from your local coffee shop, or schedule time to relax and read a book. Taking time to breathe, and keep your head clear, will ensure you do not over stress during your planning.

By following these tips you will be able to help keep yourself from going crazy during all of your planning. So just remember, take a deep breath, and keep yourself organized and on task. You can do it! Thanks for reading, and happy holiday party planning!