The holidays are a time for family, friends, and good cheer. They can also be stressful and frustrating — especially for those who have decided to host get-togethers. Whether you’re hosting a few of your closest friends and loved ones or throwing a huge party, it’s easy for chaos to take over and turn what should be a fun event into an overwhelming nightmare.
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If you’re hosting a get-together this holiday season, there are a few things you can do to make your life easier and reduce stress. From using airtight food storage containers to keeping everything fresh to setting up a “drink station,” these hacks will help you make the most of your holiday hosting duties. Keep reading to discover tips for hosting the best holiday party without unnecessary stress.
1. Use airtight food storage containers.
If you’re like most people, holiday gatherings usually involve at least some sort of potluck meal. That means dishes full of food must be transported to and from your home. Rather than using disposable paper or plastic products that will end up in the trash, invest in reusable food containers. That way, you can wash them and use them again next time. Not only is this better for the environment, but it will also save you money in the long run.
When shopping, stock up on containers for the fridge and the freezer. With a good selection of freezer storage containers on hand, you won’t need to worry about spoiling spoiling leftovers before you can use them up. They also work well for storing ingredients if you plan to get your shopping done early instead of waiting until the last minute to buy groceries. Keep some reusable insulated drinkware on hand too. That way, you’ll be able to keep your favorite beverage close by and at the perfect temperature throughout the event.
2. Set up a “drink station.”
No matter what type of gathering you’re hosting, drinks will likely be involved. To avoid having people track through your entire house to get a drink, set up a central drink station where guests can help themselves. This can be as simple as putting out a pitcher of water and some cups or setting up a self-serve coffee and tea station. If you’re serving alcoholic beverages, have plenty of non-alcoholic options.
In addition to making it easy for your guests, having a central drink station means you won’t have to spend the entire party filling up everyone’s drinks. In other words, you’ll have time to enjoy the event you’re hosting.
3. Have activities for kids (and adults!)
If you’re hosting a family-friendly gathering, it’s always a good idea to have some activities on hand to keep the kids entertained. This can be anything from simple coloring sheets and crayons to more elaborate games or crafts. For adult guests, you might want to set up a board game area or have some decks of cards available.
You don’t need to worry about scheduling structured activities (unless you want to). The key is to have options available so everyone can enjoy themselves. Keeping both kids and adults busy ensures a good time for all and can drastically cut down on the day’s stress.
4. Make use of your slow cooker.
Slow cookers are great for parties because they free up space on your stovetop and allow you to prepare food in advance. This is especially handy if you’re hosting brunch or need to prepare several different items. Scrambled eggs, quiche, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, chili, soup, stew, roasts, and more can all be made ahead of time in a slow cooker and kept warm until guests arrive. Just be sure to put out serving utensils so people can help themselves.
5. Delegate tasks to other family members or friends.
Ditch the idea that being the host means you have to do everything independently. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done, delegate tasks to other family members or friends who are coming over. Ask someone to bring plates and silverware if you don’t have enough; have someone else help with setting up chairs and tables; ask someone else to take care of making coffee or drinks; etc. The more helping hands you have, the easier everything will be on you (and the more fun everyone will have). After all, everyone deserves to have a great time at your holiday gathering — especially you!
6. Use your dishwasher (and empty it before guests arrive).
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This hack may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning because it can be helpful during big gatherings where there are many dishes, like holiday parties. If you have a dishwasher, use it rather than letting dirty dishes pile up in your sink (or worse, on your countertops). And if possible, try to empty it before guests arrive, so there’s room for all the new dishes generated during the party. If you load the dirty dishes as you go, you won’t have to spend nearly as much time cleaning up after everyone leaves. All you’ll have to do is start the cycle.
7. Set out a few trash cans or recycling bins.
No one wants their party to turn into a garbage dump, but having too few trash cans or recycling bins can make things messy quickly. Be sure to put out enough so guests have somewhere to dispose of their trash — so that you don’t have to empty them constantly. If you want extra prepared, line the bins with garbage bags before the party starts. That way, all you’ll have to do is tie up the bags and toss them when the party’s over.
Hosting holiday events doesn’t have to be a stressful or frustrating experience. With these seven hacks, you can make life easier for yourself and ensure everyone has a great time at your holiday gathering.