November 15, 2023

Hosting does not have to be stressful if you plan ahead.

It’s the most – stressful, overwhelming, busy – wonderful time of the year! Holiday season has begun and with it, the hustle and bustle. While the holidays are a time for us to gather with loved ones and reflect on the fortunes in our life, there is no doubt that they can also bring a great deal of stress especially if you are hosting family and friends. However, holiday hosting does not have to be stressful if you plan ahead. Here are a few keys to success.

Determine Your Holiday Menu:

First and foremost, it is important to determine what your holiday menu is going to be and delegate appropriately. If you have friends and family who are willing to chip in on the food, assign dishes well in advance and ensure that everyone knows what they are expected to bring.

If you are taking on all the cooking, it may also be helpful for you to consider outsourcing (aka buying) certain items or making some things well in advance. For example, instead of laboring over a homemade pumpkin pie, you can pick one up from your local bakery. One thing to keep in mind – plan ahead. Supplies are limited and many bakeries require that you pre-order ahead of time.

Begin Your Shopping Early:

Once you have your holiday menu determined, make a list of what you need from the store. I highly suggest utilizing grocery pick-up or delivery services instead of going to the store.

Not only do stores get very busy and stressful during the buildup to the holidays, but ordering ahead from the convenience of your phone or laptop also ensures nothing is left off your list.

If possible, buy ingredients well in advance to ensure you have all the items you need. This will also help avoid trips to multiple stores to find that last can of pumpkin puree in town.

Create Your Timeline:

Next, begin drafting your timeline. Here are some basics to think about:

  • how long do you need to thaw your turkey or ham for?
  • What food items can be made or prepped 2-3 days before the big event?

Additionally, don’t hold off cleaning or decorating until the day before or the day of your party. Create your tablescape up to a week before. When thinking through your day of timeline, do not forget to create buffer space and allow yourself the time you need to get ready as well.

Clean As You Go:

A clean and tidy home and kitchen will help create a more soothing environment. Try your best to clean workstations, dishes, and cooking utensils as you go and have your dishwasher empty by the time guests begin to arrive.

Not only is a clean home an inviting home, but it also allows for easy cleanup once the meal is completed. And remember – enlist help from your partner or a willing member of the family. You do not have to shoulder the entire burden alone.

We all know the holidays bring extra stress, but the famous saying “it’s the most wonderful time of the year,” exists for a reason. Hopefully these tips help you enjoy your reason for the season and laugh off the things that may not go as planned. Try to remember to enjoy the time you have with loved ones and to enjoy some of the atmosphere your hosting skills helped create.

Weekly Recipe

Baked Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Four Steps to Hosting a Stress-free Holiday Party
Sarah Michaels, RN, CPBS

Authored By

Sarah Michaels, RN, CPBS

VP of Kinetiq Health
Meet Sarah