8 Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Hosting

The holiday season means it’s time to celebrate, but if you’re the one hosting, it can also mean seasonal stress. Whether you have guests coming in for a winter break or you’re in charge of an important meal, these tips will help keep you and your festivities merry and bright.

1. Plan Ahead

Unless you’re Santa, the holidays don’t come together overnight. However, you can take a page out of the big man’s book by using a list. 

Set aside some time to create a detailed checklist that covers everything from meal preparation to guest accommodations. It can be a lot to look at, but putting together a game plan is essential. Plus, knowing exactly what you need to do and when it needs to be done can help you avoid any last-minute rushes that cause stress. 

2. Keep the Menu Simple

Everyone loves a delicious holiday meal, but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. If you’re worried that you’ll ruin a roasted ham or your mashed potatoes will turn out bland, opt for recipes you’re more comfortable with. Don’t hesitate to use a potluck-style approach and ask guests to bring a favorite dish of their own. If you’re really worried about what to make, remember, people always leave room for dessert!

3. Set the Ambiance

A warm and inviting atmosphere is a staple of every holiday celebration. Set the tone for your guests by decorating your home’s entrance with a wreath or a festive welcome mat. Placing twinkling lights, ornaments and scented candles throughout your house will also capture that holiday feel.

Keeping your guests cozy is guaranteed to keep them happy. Putting a basket of plush, fluffy blankets in your living room will help make your visitors feel right at home. A well-set table can also add elegance to your event, so don’t forget to dress it up with your favorite tableware. 

4. Create a Beverage Station

Give your guests a treat they can help themselves to before the main course. Setting up a designated beverage station with hot chocolate, coffee and juice will create a comfortable and welcoming space for people to gather and chat. If you’re looking for spirit beyond the holiday variety, a seasonal cocktail like spiked eggnog can also make a great addition to your station. 

5. Provide Entertainment

If your guests are staying for a few days, keeping them entertained is another thing to consider. Board games, a holiday movie marathon and a playlist of classic holiday tunes are easy ways to keep people engaged and in the holiday spirit. 

If you’ll have lots of children running around, consider setting up a separate space for them stocked with games, toys and craft supplies. Planning an activity like baking and decorating cookies is also a great way to keep them occupied, and you’ll get a yummy dessert everyone can eat afterward.

6. Prepare for the Unexpected

It wouldn’t be the holidays if everything went off without a hitch. From a minor kitchen mishap to unexpected guests, being prepared for these moments can alleviate stress. 

Keep a few wrapped, generic gifts on hand so you’re never caught off guard by a surprise gift exchange. Other essentials include extra chairs for seating flexibility and a few extra servings of your dishes.

7. Take Time for Self-Care

While hosting a holiday event can be rewarding, it can also be tiring. Plan a few breaks throughout the week so you can just relax with friends and family. If you need some time alone to feel refreshed, don’t hesitate to delegate tasks to willing guests so you can step away. Giving yourself the gift of a spa day can also help you decompress after a few busy days. 

8. Enjoy the Little Things

It certainly takes hard work to pull off a holiday celebration, but it’s important to remember where the real magic comes from — the people. 

Appreciate the time you get to spend with your loved ones, savor the conversations and take pictures to capture the moments. At the end of the day, your fondest memories will be the laughs over hot chocolate. 

Looking for a home to host during the holidays? Get in contact with one of our Home Guides and schedule an appointment today.

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