The holiday season is just around the corner, and while it is the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be pretty stressful, especially if you’re pulling hosting duty this year. With that in mind, here are a few helpful tips to ensure you have a happy, harmonious, low-stress holiday.
Accept Offers of Help
If one of your guests very helpfully offers to dry while you wash dishes, take them up on it! If they didn’t want to help out, they wouldn’t have asked. If Aunt Gertrude wants to bring her famous sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner, that’s one less thing for you to do. Let go of the reins a bit and let people help you if they offer, and you’ll be less busy and more able to enjoy time with friends and family.
Keep a running list of things to do today, this week, and this month. Prioritizing tasks can give you focus and ensure that you don’t spend all night working on party favors for New Year’s Eve when Timmy needs Christmas cookies for his class party tomorrow. Plus, crossing off completed tasks can help you feel productive and on top of the game. It’s easy to think you can remember it all without making lists, but it’s a lot less likely things will slip through the cracks if you have it all written down.
Do Things Ahead
Keep tasks from sneaking up on you by preparing in advance as much as possible. Lots of desserts, casseroles, and soups freeze well, so instead of making them all the day of your get-together, prepare them in the weeks ahead and freeze them needed. If you have multiple rounds of guests staying in your home, you can even layer your guest bed sheets so that when Guest A leaves, you peel off the top layer to reveal clean bedding for Guest B, without having to rush through the laundry cycle and remake the bed.
Prepare a Spare
Someone arrives bearing gifts and you didn’t get anything for them. Awkward! Keep a few wrapped gifts ready for such an occasion. A bottle of wine, pretty throw blanket, box of gourmet chocolates, or a lovely, unique Christmas ornament would all be excellent options that would be appreciated by anyone. When hit with surprise generosity, simply excuse yourself for a moment, write the giver’s name on the gift tag of one of the contingency gifts, and voila! Potentially embarrassing situation diffused.
While we can’t guarantee a completely stress-free holiday, a little bit of advanced planning and organization will go a long way to help you relax and enjoy the season. Happy holidays!