From time to time, my blog receives queries from other writers and bloggers who’d like to guest post here. I’m open to this. (Just send me an email.) Most of the areas in which people are welcome to guest post include writing about literature or music or fashion or food, but now and then something else catches my eye that seems like it would be useful to post here. This is one of those posts.
Half of the people in my house are extreme extroverts and the other half, extreme introverts. This means, in a nutshell, entertaining at home is necessary but emotionally slightly horrifying. We’ve had to come up with coping mechanisms and compromises that allow everyone to get what they need without ruining anyone’s day or night. (Like with most things in life, it’s a work in progress.) Some things we have started doing is limiting the guest list (sometimes by more than 50%) and allowing the introverts to leave the party in the middle for a recharge break. Both of these help. We also have fewer occasions when we entertain now, though New Year’s Eve is still — most years — one of those times.
Aimee Lyons, who blogs at DIY Darlin, wants to offer us all some good advice for how to host a party without taking the fun out of it for yourself.
How To Keep Holiday Entertaining Fun And Leave Out The Stress
by Aimee Lyons
Photo via Pixabay by PixArc
Entertaining during the holidays can be one of the most stressful endeavors you can undertake, but it doesn’t have to be. Many of us feel the pressure to throw a perfect party or to make our homes look like a magazine cover, but the truth is, your guests probably won’t remember that you had 10,000 string lights but only half of them twinkled.
Getting caught up in the small things will definitely make you anxious, so it’s important to learn how to prevent those feelings of anxiety and stress and cope with the matter at hand: making a fun, memorable party.
One of the keys to doing that is to plan as much as possible. If you feel prepared for any contingency, you’ll have the confidence to throw a bash that no one will forget for years to come. Here are the best tips for having fun and leaving the stress at the door.
Plan your menu
Don’t be seduced by that beautiful spread in the Pinterest photo. Choose foods that are deceptively easy to make but look like a million bucks, such as dips and finger foods. Having a variety of small items rather than a full-on ham dinner will leave you with more time to mingle with your guests and will keep it casual, plus you won’t have to worry about having nothing for the vegetarians or those with food allergies.
Set the mood
You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to make your home look beautiful for guests. Music and lighting can go a long way, so decorate with metallic items and light candles (which can be put up and out of the way for safety’s sake), which will give your home a warm, twinkling glow. Make a playlist everyone will love by mixing classic holiday songs with contemporary music.
A lot of people in one house — especially after a day of cooking — can mean warm temps, so crack a few windows to ensure no one overheats. In the kitchen, turn on a fan away from the food, especially if you have to leave the oven on to keep things warm.
Don’t be afraid to enlist some help
There will come a point in your party planning when you’ll convince yourself that you can only achieve “perfect party” status if you do everything yourself. But the reality is the more you can delegate the better you’ll feel and chances are the better your party atmosphere will be.
So, what are some great tasks to delegate? For one, having a pet constantly underfoot while planning and decorating can be a pain. So, you might consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to keep them company while you prep. And there may be small party tasks you can hand over to your kids. They’ll enjoy being asked to help, and placecards written in their cute kid script, for example, will add even more charm and warmth to your party’s vibe.
The after-party mess is always a buzzkill, so keep a sink full of hot, soapy water to throw in used dishes as they get left behind. Better yet, use disposable plates, cups, and cutlery to cut down on the work. Ask a friend to help you keep an eye on the trash so it doesn’t get overfilled.
Don’t go overboard
It’s fine to plan a few games or gift-exchanges, but don’t plan for every single minute of the party. Let your guests mingle, talk, and have fun at a relaxed pace so you can do the same.
There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to enjoy your own party. The trick is finding ways to enjoy the planning process. When you enjoy the build up to your party, you’ll be more relaxed and less stressed for the big event, and your calm demeanor will help you and your guests enjoy the evening.
Aimee Lyons fancies herself a DIY goddess. She loves crafting, refurbishing furniture, remodeling rooms, and landscaping. She runs DIYDarlin.com, which provides DIY project resources and tutorials.