Holiday party planning – how to stress less this year

Holiday-Planning (1)
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Perhaps you are a little nervous about hosting your first holiday party this year. Or maybe you are working yourself into a tizzy because you feel like you have to top Aunt Susan’s holiday bash from last year. While the holidays are meant to be spent with friends and family and reflect on the year, it can be hard to do that when your mind is focused on food, place settings, people-pleasing, and unrealistic expectations. Take a step back, breathe in deeply, and check out these tips for a stress-free holiday party.

Start Early

The day of the party should be for small, finishing touches, so start planning and preparing early so you don’t find yourself completing tasks at the last minute. All that rushing around is stressful, and it sets the stage for a stressful holiday party. If you start the day cool, calm, and collected, you will be more apt to sanely handle whatever may crop up rather than having an outburst people will be talking about for years to come. Start by creating a check-list of everything you need to do, and have a family member or friend look it over to see if there is anything you might have missed. While it is tempting to be the hero and do everything yourself, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to others to take some of the pressure off. Turn to other helpful sources such as Pinterest for easy recipes and decorating ideas that pack a punch with minimal effort, but be mindful of guests with certain diet restrictions.

Think Logistically

One of the big pieces of planning a successful holiday party is making sure you have the right numbers. Nothing is more awkward than not having enough place settings, so triple-check your head count and ensure everyone will have the essentials including plates, utensils, wine glasses, coffee cups, etc. Have a few extra sets on hand in case there is an unexpected guest such as a friend or significant other. When you are planning where everyone will sit, don’t feel like you have to cram everyone at the main table. Consider having a separate table for the young adults and children. Not only will the table be less crowded, but the conversation will flow more easily since everyone won’t be shouting over each other to be heard. Remember, the extra seating doesn’t have to be fancy. A card table and folding chairs can be easily dressed up with a nice tablecloth and chair covers, or given a paint job for a completely new look.

Take Care of Yourself

With the focus on throwing the ultimate holiday party, it is easy to forget about your own needs, but you need to take care of yourself in order to be a good host. It might be tempting to stay up late into the night cooking, or skip a meal to perfect your DIY cornucopia, but nothing will dampen a party sooner than dark eye circles and a cranky attitude. In addition, this time of year is prime time for illnesses such as colds and the flu, so taking the time to give your body the rest and nutrition it needs is the key to a strong immune system. If in the midst of all the party prep you find yourself feeling stressed, take some time to step back and engage in a little self-care such as yoga, meditation, journaling, or simply giving yourself a pep talk in the mirror. You can even use some of these suggestions during the party. Perhaps you could step away to a quiet room for a minute to collect your thoughts, or go on a walk after the meal with a few party guests to clear your head and make room for dessert.
There are sure to be a few stressful moments that pop up during your holiday party planning. However, by preparing in advance, crunching some numbers, and tending to your own needs, you can stress a little less this holiday season.

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