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Our Favorite Holiday Tips for Stress-Free Hosting

Jennifer Thompson

While we look forward to the holiday season all year round, there is no denying that the holiday season can be quite stressful. This is especially true if you are hosting your family or friends for the holidays and going crazy wondering how you will pull it all off. So whether you are confused about what to put on the menu, or thinking about how to pull off an elaborate table setup, here are some of our favorite holiday tips to help you with stress-free hosting to finish off the year with a bang.

1. Plan a party that YOU want 

Most of us are often under a lot of stress around the holidays trying to match up to the parties of others. It does not matter how your aunt or grandmother used to host holiday parties. To take the stress off yourself, plan for a party you want. Think about what kind of party you would like to attend and plan according. What type of cocktails, appetizers, or meals do you want to have and keep those at your party? If you make something with all your heart, chances are high that all your guests will also like it. 
The same applies to other decisions related to music, decorations, table settings, etc. Go with your heart to help reduce the stress of hosting a party. After all, you are planning the entire party and putting in all the effort, so for a change, go with what you want and enjoy the party while being free from stress. 

2. Plan the menu and write it down

The best holiday tip is to write your menu down first. You will be surprised at how much this can help. Putting your menu down on paper will help you feel better prepared and less stressed. 
Regarding what food to make, you should stick to holiday favorites. It is up to you to decide whether you want to cook up an entire holiday entree or if you want to split up the menu to include some appetizers or some easy holiday side dishes, such as finger foods that your guests can enjoy throughout the party. 
One vital point to keep in mind is your guests' eating preferences. Any dietary restrictions or allergies should be considered, and always read the food labels carefully so that nothing slips into the meal unnoticed. 
If your budget allows, you can even think about pre-ordering some dishes to avoid being in the kitchen the entire day of the party. 
Of course, no menu is complete without drinks, and it is also great to write down this part of the menu. Plan the drinks menu around the dishes you will be serving.

3. Use self-serve stations

Creating self-serve stations is the best way to reduce stress if you are hosting a holiday party at your home. To do this, consider serving your menu in a buffet format. This will save you a lot of energy and lead to less food waste as the guests can choose what they want to eat and how much they want. 
For example, these dishes can be self-served if you serve side dishes or appetizers instead of a complete entree. Designate an area where your guests can move around freely and help themselves to whatever items they like.
Having a self-serve station for beverages is also a great idea. Nobody wants to spend the entire party serving wine and beer. This is why it is better to have a self-service station or coolers and keep cups handy nearby. If you are thinking of serving seasonal cocktails, make sure to keep everything ready ahead of time and store them in the fridge. When filling, you can pour them out in pitchers and keep them at the self-serve station.

4. Keep decorations simple

One of the critical things to do to reduce stress is to keep your party decor simple. Instead of going overboard, stick to just one or two colors for the overall theme. This will also help you narrow things down when shopping and prevent you from buying too much.
Another great idea is to opt for decorations you have made. While these handmade decorations can be the highlight of the decor theme, you can include things like floral arrangements and decorative candles to accentuate the room. These are decoration classics; if you like, you can even turn these into centerpieces.

5. Never be afraid to ask for help

The biggest thing to remember is that there is no shame in asking for help. In most cases, you will find that your guests want to help as you take on the primary responsibility of hosting the party
If one of your friends has a unique recipe that could be a big hit at the party, don't hesitate to ask them if they are willing to make and bring it. Delegating tasks or hiring help will let you focus on other responsibilities and your guests that need your attention.

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