Can you hear the tinkle of bells? Smell the sweet scents of baked goods permeating the air? Perhaps you are also already envisioning the sheer chaos that comes with hosting guests over the holidays. While it may be the jolly season, having your home as the center of entertainment can be stressful and overwhelming. Luckily, there are a few ways to negate the worst of the chaos, and we are here to share them with you.
Tips for Hosting Guests During the Holidays
1. Plan the Party You Want
When it comes to holiday planning, hosts often end up catering to the whims of guests. Rather than hosting a party that tries to meet everyone else’s needs, host the party you and your immediate family want to enjoy. Whether it is a themed party, has specific food, involves certain games or traditions, or whatever you prefer, make it your own and stick to it! This is your house!
2. Make a Meal Plan in Advance
Having guests over the holidays can leave many hosts feeling like they are perpetually stuck in the kitchen rather than enjoying their company. To prevent toiling away over the stove or trying to come up with meal ideas on the spot, you can do your meal planning and shopping in advance. Prep whatever you can before the guests arrive, have all the ingredients ready for big meals, and maybe even schedule a meal or two where you order in or go out to relieve some of the stress!
Make sure to remember to leave out easily consumable snacks throughout the day. While you certainly don’t want to spoil your guests’ appetites for meals, putting out healthy snacks is a great way to curb the munchies and keep guests out of your fridge. We suggest veggie platters, cut-up fruit, crackers, and maybe a few holiday sweets. Also, leave out self-serve drink stations with water, juice, and alcoholic beverages (if appropriate).
3. Delegate Tasks to Friends & Family
Just because you are hosting doesn’t mean that you have to do everything yourself! Give yourself the gift of NOT being a people-pleaser this year, and hand out some tasks for your immediate family and incoming guests to be in charge of. Not only will this remove some of the stress from your plate, but it will help your friends feel more involved and thankful for all the amazing things happening. Examples of manageable tasks to delegate are taking holiday cards to the post office, baking cookies, or making popcorn strings. We highly suggest taking a good look at your to-do list and delegating appropriate tasks to guests and friends who can handle them safely, efficiently, and happily.
4. Be Prepared for Overnighters
It is pretty common for family to fly in from out of town for the holidays, whether it is your aging parents, college kids, nomadic sister, or weird cousin. To keep the house from becoming a full-on bed and breakfast, we recommended starting with a headcount and ensuring there is enough comfortable sleeping space for everyone. If there isn’t, recommend local hotels or Airbnbs where they can crash.
Overnighters also mean stocking up on supplies. We recommend prepping extra bath towels and wash clothes, toiletry items, toilet paper, and anything else guests may need to sleep comfortably.
5. Schedule Transportation Services
When your guests come to town, they will need a ride, but booking a rental is going to be super expensive! Rather than waste money, let’s analyze the most efficient methods.
First, you need to pick them up from the airport. If you cannot pick them up yourself, we recommend booking private airport car services to shuttle the family to your house. Not only will they feel like VIPs, but you don’t have to waste time getting them. It also works in reverse to get them back to the airport when they leave!
As for when they want to scout the town, if you have an extra car, you can loan it out to trustworthy people to utilize. However, don’t feel pressured to hand over the keys if you need your car or don’t trust their driving. You can always hire a sprinter van or private car to safely escort your family around the city. Plus, it is likely to be cheaper than attempting to book a rental car during the holidays.
6. Keep the Decorations Simple
Holidays are the easiest time of the year to over-decorate. For your exterior decorating, if you want to hang lights, great! If you’re going to keep it extra simple, do the area around your front door.
Interior holiday decorating is a bit trickier. It is vital to remember that extra people in your home will need more space, especially on countertops, tables, and other surfaces for drinks, food, and other personal items. We recommend choosing one color theme, such as red and green OR blue and white. Then pick a theme, such as Santa’s Village, cute gnomes, snowflakes, or little trees. Then, incorporate functional items such as bowls, pitchers, or cups that hold the stuff you will need to put out anyways! Remember, less is more.