Hosting the family Christmas gathering or the New Year’s Eve celebration this year? While it’s delightful to open your home to family to enjoy delicious food and be merry together, it can be overwhelming to be the host especially if you’re a mom.
As a mom, you have to take care of the kids and make sure they have fun on top of having to do holiday shopping, send out invitations, clean and decorate the house, prepare the feast, come up with entertainment and activities for the get-together, and more. Hosting the Christmas or New Year’s Eve gathering can be taxing and nerve-wracking. But don’t worry, here are some tips for a stress-free holiday hosting:
Plan Ahead and Set a Timeline
If you’re hosting for the holidays, you have to start planning even before Halloween. Even if you’re not someone who follows a strict schedule, it will be helpful to put together some kind of plan. Setting a timeline for the family gathering from sending out invites to serving dessert will not only make the event seamless, it will also help you prepare.Knowing what you will be doing will help you determine what you will and may need during preparation and on the day itself. Make sure you have all the ingredients if you will be cooking and stock up on the necessities such as paper towels, trash bags, toilet paper, and take-out containers.
Send Out Invitations Early
Even if your family already knows you will be hosting the family holiday gathering this year, it is still ideal to send out invitations. This will help formalize everything and would allow everyone to put the day on their calendars. You might be offered much-needed help with the preparations, too.Make sure to send out invites even before Halloween so they can be prepared way ahead of time. For a stress-free, cost-efficient, and environment-friendly way, create digital invites and send them through email.
Be RealisticWhen hosting a holiday, it’s important to set realistic expectations. Don’t try to do everything by yourself if you cannot. If you need help, ask for it. Accept that not everything will be perfect and that’s perfectly fine. If there are mishaps or setbacks, do not dwell on them. Let go and have fun.
Keep Your Guests in MindProbably one of the holiday guest tips no one taught you is to be accommodating. When decorating, preparing the dinner menu, or planning the activities, always keep each of your guests in mind. Are there babies and young kids? Is there someone who has disabilities or special needs? Knowing your guests can help you decorate your house and tailor the activities. Ask everyone too if they have food allergies and preferences so you have an idea of which food not to serve.
Simplify What You CanKeep things simple as much as possible. You don’t have to serve hundreds of dishes or plan complicated activities. You don’t have to go overboard with decor, too. Before spending a lot on party supplies and groceries, look through your cabinets, pantry, and storage. Utilize what you already have at home. If you do choose to go out and buy, make sure you have a list and everything you need in a reliable mom bag that can withstand the winter for smooth and convenient holiday shopping.
Ask for Help in the Kitchen
Don’t spread yourself too thin in the kitchen. For hassle-free hosting, you can get catering or order party trays. You can still cook a dish or two to include family recipes, but by ordering the rest, you won’t exhaust yourself because you won’t have to cook a whole feast. If you want to have everything cooked at home, don’t do everything by yourself and ask for help.You also can’t be frantic in the middle of entertaining your guests when you suddenly run out of food or drinks. You don’t want to leave anyone hungry or thirsty, so probably one of the best holiday dinner tips no one taught you is to overestimate when preparing food and beverages. Of course, you might end up having heaps of leftovers, but you can send your guests home with them in take-out containers. You can also donate them to a shelter nearby, which is a way to give this season.
Delegate TasksJust because you’re the host doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself. Ask for help with cooking dinner, decorating the house, and even executing the activities. You can delegate tasks to your partner and your older kids. Dinner can also be potluck style and you can tell guests they can bring a dish. It’s a win-win because it takes some stress off of you and everyone has a dish they like. If guests offer to help with cleanup, washing the dishes, or watching the kids, accept them and just be grateful. Don’t be overwhelmed and exhausted by attempting to do it all.
Make It Fun for the KidsKids love holiday celebrations, but younger ones might not enjoy what adults usually do. Plan fun activities for kids with their siblings and cousins like decorating an ornament or their stocking, writing letters to Santa or their wishes for the New Year, or working on holiday-themed coloring books. Keeping the little ones happy and busy helps avoid tantrums and outbursts that could distract you from being a good host.
Plan Your CleanupStrategize your cleanup. Discuss your cleanup system and delegate tasks to your partner and older kids as well. Make sure you have cleaning supplies and tools ready and placing small trash cans throughout the get-together area helps minimize mess.
Be Ready for the Worst
One of the stress-free holiday tips you should know is to expect the worst when kids are involved. Be ready with soap and water, baby wipes, changing mats, hand sanitizers, snacks, toys, mops, and other cleaning materials. You know there will be little accidents or a mess to wipe and clean up and that’s okay. Just be prepared for some hiccups. And while you will make the gathering as safe as it can be, it’s wise to have a first aid kit and some medicine for emergencies.
Don’t Forget Family Traditions
A family holiday gathering will not be complete without tradition. Make sure to incorporate your family customs into the get-together program. Whether it’s singing Christmas carols together, enjoying mugs of hot cocoa with marshmallows by the fire, or lighting sparklers outside the house as you count down to the New Year, make your family happy by honoring holiday traditions.
Being the host for the year’s family holiday gathering can be overwhelming and stressful, but following helpful holiday hosting tips can guide you and make the planning and execution a little bit easier. Accept that not everything will be perfect and it doesn’t matter. The most important thing during this holiday season is you spend the day with your loved ones and you get to cherish the moments with them.
How do I host a family holiday gathering without stress?If you’re hosting for the holidays, you have to start planning even before Halloween. Set a timeline and be prepared, but be realistic. Delegate tasks and don’t hesitate to ask for help because being the host doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself. Finally, accept that not everything will be perfect and just enjoy the moment with your loved ones.
How do I prepare food for a holiday gathering?For hassle-free holiday hosting, you can get catering or order party trays. You can still cook a dish or two to include family recipes, but by ordering the rest, you won’t exhaust yourself because you won’t have to cook a whole feast. If you want to have everything cooked at home, don’t do everything by yourself and ask for help.