Our Guide to Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining

The holiday season is often associated with elaborate meals and extensive entertaining. While the thought of hosting a festive gathering may bring joy, the reality of all the preparation and cooking can be overwhelming. However, with a few helpful tips, you can simplify your holiday meal planning and entertaining, making it a stress-free experience.

1. Plan your menu in advance: Take some time to decide on the dishes you want to serve and create a detailed shopping list. This will help you stay organized and avoid last-minute scrambling.

“Make it simple, make it clean, make it easy. I think a good hostess really knows how to maximize the use of space no matter if it’s big or small. And don’t make a complicated menu—one big dish is better than five little dishes.”
Martha Stewart
2. Simplify recipes: Look for recipes that are easy to prepare and require minimal ingredients. Consider dishes that can be made ahead of time and simply reheated or assembled on the day of the event. 
“Whenever I’m planning a dinner menu, I always pick something I can make in advance, something you can put in the oven and forget about it, something that goes on top of the stove, and something that’s served at the room temperature, so four things don’t have to be hot at the same time.”
Ina Garten

3. Delegate tasks: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Consider catering or assigning specific dishes or tasks to your guests or family members. This not only lightens your load but also allows others to contribute and feel involved.
4. Embrace potluck-style gatherings: Instead of preparing the entire meal yourself, consider hosting a potluck-style gathering where each guest brings a dish. This not only reduces your cooking responsibilities but also adds variety to the menu.  Most people don’t mind bring something to a party more than they want to host.  
5. Use time-saving kitchen tools: Invest in kitchen gadgets that can help streamline your cooking process. For example, a slow cooker or instant pot can be a lifesaver when it comes to preparing certain dishes.
6. Opt for simplicity in decoration: Keep your table settings and decorations simple and elegant. Choose a few key pieces that make a statement rather than going overboard with elaborate centerpieces and decorations.

 Invest in flower arranger tools like flower frogs or wire grids to assist you in simple elegant flower arrangements.  Our favorite is this: https://amzn.to/3QCcDk1

7. Prioritize relaxation and enjoyment: Remember that the holidays are meant to be enjoyed. Don’t get caught up in perfectionism and allow yourself time to relax and spend quality time with your loved ones. A relaxed and enjoyable hostess enriches the gathering far more than anything else.  Read more: HOW TO RELAX AT YOUR OWN PARTY by Monica Shaw
By implementing these tips, you can simplify your holiday meal planning and entertaining, allowing you to fully enjoy the festivities without the added stress.