Tis the season to eat turkey, deck the halls and ring in the new year! But for many hosts and hostesses, the treadmill of holiday parties can become a source of stress and anxiety! However, it doesn’t have to be that way. I guarantee you’ll enjoy stress free entertaining if you follow these 10 simple, easy tips.
OPT for food stations!
Instead of a sit down dinner or even a traditional buffet with all the food in one place, scatter food stations around your space. A couple of entrée stations, a sides station, dessert station and drink station will encourage guests to move about and prevent bottlenecks! Rent tables or use sawhorses and plywood to create your own then throw tablecloths over them and no one will be the wiser! Of course, make sure they’re sturdy!
THROW perfection out the window!
One of the biggest stressors for me was trying to make sure everything was PERFECT; and every holiday I made myself crazy! Now I do what I can, then outsource the rest. You don’t have to prepare the perfect Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham, but your favorite restaurant can! Order in advance so there are no glitches. That goes for sides and desserts too.
USE disposables if you’re hosting a large holiday party!
Disposables are a huge factor in stress free entertaining at our house. There was a time when I wouldn’t have dreamed of using disposable dishes at a party, consequently I was stuck washing a lot of dishes after the party ended. But now, there are so many high quality products, it doesn’t make sense to use real china when you are hosting a large party. As a matter of fact, our guests don’t even know the plates aren’t real. They can’t believe it when we toss them! Don’t know where to find them? I’ve included a link at the end of this post to make it easy for you.
DELEGATE, delegate, delegate, then delegate some more!
To repeat, delegate, delegate, delegate, then delegate some more. I can’t say this enough. Your guests will usually ask if there is anything they can do/bring to help. Those of us with control issues will usually decline this gracious offer – resist doing that! For close friends, ask one or two to come an hour early to help set out food and stay late to help clean up. For others, ask that they bring ice, beer, sodas etc. They won’t mind and it’ll make things so much easier for you.
HIRE a cleaning company!
If you have a generous budget for this party or it can be stretched, it is so worth it to hire a cleaning company to clean your home the day before the party. You’re guaranteed sparkling bathrooms and glistening floors that you didn’t have to scrub. And you won’t have to worry about a guest accidently opening the door to a room that you didn’t have time to clean!
PREPARE in advance!
Do everything you can in advance. For example, prepare and freeze any of the menu items that freeze well. Set up everything you can the day before – table, chairs, dishware. Confirm what helpers are coming early as well as those staying late to help. Confirm the babysitter. Knowing everything and everybody is ready to go will keep your stress level down.
DITCH the bar!
Instead of a full bar, consider offering wine and beer! Additionally, as a third option prepare a fabulous wine punch. Your guests won’t even miss the hard liquor! If you are determined to have a range of liquor, hire a bartender. They will tell you everything you need in advance for a full bar. Not to mention, they are trained to recognize when cousin Cynthia needs to have her liquor supply cut off!
SKIP the drama!
The holidays can bring together family members that haven’t spoken all year. Obviously, this may or may not be a good thing! If family drama rears its ugly head…don’t engage. Nip it in the bud by walking away and refuse to support it. Remember, it takes two people to argue.
TAKE the party off site if your budget allows!
Have your party at a restaurant or banquet hall. Let them manage and prepare the entire shindig while you relax and enjoy your guests.
Finally, the party’s over. Now it’s time to celebrate mastering the art of stress free entertaining. Schedule a massage, manicure and/or pedicure for the day after. Trust me, you deserve it!