The holiday season is right around the corner! While this time of year commonly evokes feelings of excitement and joy, it can quickly turn into a season of stress if you are in charge of hosting the holidays at your home.
Whether you are the designated holiday host each year, or this is your first time hosting friends and family, these five tips will help to make your experience a breeze so that you can relax and enjoy this special time of year with your guests.
Just because you are opening your house for hosting, doesn’t mean that you need to bear the burden of preparing the full meal alone! Don’t be afraid to delegate side dishes, appetizers, drinks and desserts to other family members or friends.
If someone offers to bring a signature dish, let them! If your guests are traveling from far away and it is difficult for them to bring dishes, don’t be afraid to use a few store-bought (or semi-homemade) items mixed in with your made-from-scratch dishes…your guests will be none the wiser when they see the full spread!
It is always a good idea to play with your table arrangement and serving areas ahead of time. Lay out your place settings a few days in advance along with the table runners, centerpieces, dishes, silverware sets and glassware that will be used. If you plan to have any breadbaskets, gravy boats, bottles of wine, or pitchers of water on the table during your meal, it is also a good idea to set those out. This will ensure that you have plenty of space for all of your guests to comfortably enjoy their meal. Also, lay out your serving dishes ahead of time to make sure you have everything you need without the stress of a last-minute trip to the store.
Pro tip: Put a sticky note on each of your serving dishes that labels what food items it will be holding, this way if you have guests who insist on helping you set up the food they will be able to know what goes where without disrupting your flow!
While the main course will be best prepared the morning of your event, there is no reason not to prepare as many of the side dishes and desserts as possible ahead of time. Once you know which guests will be bringing sides and appetizers, you can prepare the rest of your menu accordingly.
Mashed potatoes, casseroles, and vegetable sides are easily prepared ahead of time and simply need to be warmed up before serving. Do as much of your washing, chopping, peeling, and prep-work ahead of time to ensure that you aren’t wasting precious time that could be spent mingling with your guests.
One of the best parts of a holiday feast is the leftovers! Plan ahead and purchase extra to-go containers so that you can send your guests home with some goodies to enjoy the next day, especially if they contributed to the meals! If you have a large crowd and don’t anticipate enough leftovers to go around, a to-go container for desserts is another kind gesture you can send your guests off with.
While we all dream of a seamless hosting event with zero spills, accidents, or meal mishaps, life happens! Do what you can to avoid potential party-fouls by stocking up on extra stain removers, wine glasses, candles, batteries, and whatever other items you may need in your emergency kit. On the day of your holiday hosting, it is most important to be in the moment with your friends and loved ones.
Do you have any tried and true holiday hosting tips? Be sure to let us know! Sign up for our newsletter for more lifestyle tips.