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11 Stress-Free Tips for the Holiday Host

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Joan Lunden

Entertaining / / December 15, 2014

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Hosting family and friends during the holidays can require a lot of work, but I think we can all agree that the payoff is really great. I take such pride in decorating my home for the holidays and look forward to spending time with the people I love most. But as someone who hosts almost all of our family holidays and parties, I know that there are certain stressors that come along with a large get together.

If hosting this holiday season has you feeling overwhelmed, here are some of my stress-free tips that will help you to save your energy and spend more time with your family.

  1. Make a list – Creating a “to-do” list is a great way to keep you on track. Prioritize and check-off items on your list as you complete each task.
  2. Set-Up – Design and set your table(s) up in advance. Setting-up a day or two ahead of time (opposed to the day of) can limit stress and allow you to focus on the important stuff, like the food.
  3. Precook if possible - It’s almost impossible to cook a meal while trying to entertain, so try to precook dishes and prepare drinks ahead of time. Of course, this isn’t always an option but doing prep work early can cut your time in the kitchen in half.
  4. Stock up – They say you should never go grocery-shopping hungry. Well, if you are hosting, maybe make an exception. It’s smart to stock up on lots of nibbles and drinks for holiday hosting. Buying the “party size” bags could help cut down on price.
  5. Tidy not spotless  - Don’t worry about your home being spotless. Tidy up a bit: dust, vacuum, make sure your sink is clean, but keep in mind, you will have to clean AGAIN when your party is over. As my mom always said, “have a party every year so then you’ll really clean your house.”
  6. Refreshments – Set up a separate drink station away from the food.  This will allow guests easy access to refreshments without clogging up the food station.
  7. Serving made simple – Use oven-to-table serving dishes over metal or glass dishes. They will keep the food warmer longer and are half the cleanup!
  8. Buffet style – If you are throwing a large party in a limited space, don’t try to squeeze everyone around the dinner table. Having a buffet style dinner with various tables and chairs is the most efficient way to serve a lot of company.
  9. A little décor- Think small.
    1. Interior – A big centerpiece is beautiful, but during the holidays save space for food by displaying small, simple arrangements. A few scattered nuts or a couple seasonal single flowers are elegant, and fill the small spaces between dishes.
    2. Exterior - Your home doesn’t need to be the brightest on the block to make an impact. Instead, wrap some holiday lights around a wreath and place it on your front door. It will illuminate just the right amount of holiday sparkle to guests walking into your home.
  10. A Holiday soundtrack – Holiday tunes are a great way to set the mood. Play your favorite holiday album but remember to keep the music low so that family and friends can chat.
  11. Relax and enjoy! –Don’t be afraid to ask for help!  A happy host makes for a happy party. 

Hosting can be stressful so be sure you don’t forget to enjoy yourself and spend time with our loved ones. Your guests are there to celebrate with you and enjoy your company so make sure to take frequent breaks from the kitchen and engage in conversation with your loved ones. 

Happy hosting everyone!

About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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