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Secrets to a Stress-Free Holiday Party

The holidays are just around the corner and it’s your turn to host! Baking the cookies, stringing the décor and opening your door to friends and family is always fun. But with all the responsibility of throwing a top-notch party, it can also get pretty stressful.

We’re here to help! Check out our top tips on throwing a stress-free celebration that both you and your guests will enjoy:

Plan ahead. You don’t want to forget the cranberries or neglect to pick up the ice, so make a list before you head out on your shopping trip. This way you know you’ll get everything you need and won’t have to run any last-minute errands the day of.

Keep the menu simple. Even if you love to cook, whipping up a meal for all of your friends and family is never easy. So skip the fancy truffles and deluxe side dishes and stick with some tried-and-true favorites — spiral ham, roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, sugar cookies, etc. And if your partygoers want a more extravagant menu, ask that everyone brings a dish to pass so you’re not stuck in the kitchen all day.

Nix the cocktails. If you’re an avid Pinterest user, you probably see all the delicious cocktail recipes that come out each holiday season. And although they can be fun to make, they’re often more work than they’re worth. So opt for wine, beer and soda instead — no bartender needed!

Keep on top of cleaning. One of the most dreaded steps of preparing for a party is having to clean your house from top to bottom. Sure, this is a daunting task to tackle in a day or two, but if you spread out your cleaning schedule throughout the few weeks before the party it’ll be a piece of cake! Declutter the office one day, shampoo the carpets the next, tackle your kitchen the weekend before, and so on.

Be flexible. If you’re schedule oriented, it can be hard not to plan your party to the minute. But guests do better if they’ve got more flexibility. Invite them to come and go as they please and don’t be a stickler for the timeline. This way you’ll avoid the yearly argument with that family member who’s always late, plus you’ll likely feel more relaxed as the day goes on. Win-win!

Stock up on gifts. There’s always that person who unexpectedly shows up with a gift, and you don’t want to be caught empty handed! So be prepared with a few extra gifts wrapped and ready to go just in case. They don’t have to be extravagant — a scented candle, decorative coffee mug, bottle of champagne — it’s the thought that counts.

Don’t get stuck in tradition. Filling grandma’s shoes and living up to your family’s expectations can be really stressful. After all, no one can do it like she did. So make this holiday celebration your own and start some new traditions. They just might become some new favorites!

Wind it down. Every party runs its course. So, when you’re tired and ready to clean up, have a strategy to gracefully kick your guests out. Turn down the music, blow out a few candles and start subtly tidying up. People should get the hint and head out on their own, making your party a fond memory of the past.

At the end of the day, the season is about coming together and being thankful for friends and family, so do your best not to stress! Besides, with these tips in your back pocket, you’ll become the best host on the block in no time! Happy Holidays.

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