Let’s be honest: while Christmas parties are a beloved part of the season, they can also be one of the major reasons that stress rates spike across the country in the month of December. You want to be in the moment and really enjoy these gatherings with your friends and family… but how’s it to be done when you’re the one hosting?
Here are some ideas to help you really de-stress your holiday party this year and focus on the things that matter most instead.
Pick One Special Thing
If you’ve been spending too much time on Pinterest, you probably have ten million ideas for what you want to do as food and decor for your holiday party. There are so many cute things out there! But by thing #3, it’s no longer fun; it’s a huge chore. Do your best to scale it back. In fact, most of the time, you’re best off if you just pick one special feature that you want to incorporate into your party. That might be a gorgeous appetizer tree, or some signature cocktails for the party. Just remember, you are only one person!
No seriously! I know that some people think that a really fancy party doesn’t require participation from the guests, but there are a lot of people who really love to contribute a dish. Sure, it’ll end up a little haphazard, but always in a good way. If you’re determined to keep the menu streamlined, at least ask someone else to handle dessert and appetizers.
Follow Up with a Do-Nothing Day
I’ve found that one of the most exhausting things about the holiday season is that it can just be one day after another packed with crazy activities. I personally love to decompress after a stressor (even a fun one) like a holiday party. It’s also nice because it gives you something to look forward to as you’re in the midst of building pressure. You can just tell yourself “this time tomorrow, I’ll be taking a bubble bath.”
Establish Easy Traditions
If you’re doing a big family activity, start incorporating traditions that don’t require much thought from you. For example, have the kids make a pillow fort in the den, play a family game of Monopoly, or watch a Christmas movie after dinner. Once they become traditions, they’re not cop-outs at all. Rather, they’re treasured time with family. As a bonus, you’ll never have to stress over activities in future holiday events; the itinerary will already be full!
Hire It Out
How about getting a gift for yourself this year? Hire maids to clean before or after the party. You might even hire caterers for the main event. Often, you can find options out there for less money than you think. And if it makes your whole month better, then it’s definitely worth it.
Be Smart about the Main Dish
If you’re the one cooking a whole huge meal for family and friends, then maybe there are better main course options than turkey. Since when do you need to have turkey for Christmas, anyway? We just had a turkey dinner a month ago. Instead, look for a simpler option. Buy pre-cooked ham at the store, or look into a crock pot roast. Buck the stodgy traditions and do something that frees up more mindspace for other things.
Limit the Guest List
You probably feel like you have to invite the whole neighborhood to your party. Guess what? You don’t! Most of your friends and family are pretty busy this holiday season too. Imagine how much better you’ll feel if your party includes 25 people rather than 60.
Get Together after Christmas
Alright, this might sound crazy, but hear me out. It’s really hard to coordinate a time when everyone can manage a get-together before the holidays. December is packed! We’re working up until Christmas Eve, there’s the shopping and decorating to do, not to mention every other work, church, family, and neighborhood party to compete with. Well, what if you plan an after-Christmas party instead? How about December 27th? This is especially fun for families and close-knit groups of friends. Look into the surrounding holidays from around the world for theme inspiration, like Spain’s Fiesta de los Reyes, England’s Boxing Day, or even Festivus.