Entertaining Simplified

Hosting a holiday party is only as complicated as you choose to make it. If you decide that connection rather than perfection is the goal of your gathering, then party planning becomes simpler and a whole lot more fun.

Drag the following party elements in order of importance to you, with the top element representing the hosting task that you enjoy the most.

  • Food
  • Décor
  • Entertainment
Simplify Your Holiday

If the idea of choosing recipes, food shopping, cooking, and serving stresses you out, ditch the big dinner and start a new tradition. You could do a wine and pre-made appetizers cocktail hour. Or a dessert potluck. You can ditch the food altogether, and ask friends to meet up at a local hangout. Organize an ice skating evening or a bowling competition. Find a charity where you can volunteer together. Attend a concert. Go see the latest holiday movie.

For many people, hosting a party means more than just making your home look festive. It also means that all the little household tasks that have lived on your to-do list for months and months must now get done. In addition to figuring out the guest list and the food, you also have to wash the windows, get new curtains for the living room, patch the hole in the playroom wall, and on and on. There are two strategies if hosting a party causes these feelings of overwhelm:

  1. Decide that perfection is not the goal of your gathering (Read Wednesday's blog for inspiration). Or
  2. Host your party elsewhere. And don’t feel as though you have to spend a lot of money on a restaurant meal. Organize a sledding party, and bring big thermoses of hot chocolate and cookies. Invite friends for a nature walk, and bring snacks for everyone. Go caroling, and hand out song books. You can be a generous host without having to spend a single second cleaning out your coat closet or rearranging your medicine cabinet.

If coming up with an activity or a craft for the kids in your life is not your idea of a good time, then simply knock this off your to-do list. Set out some board games and toys for the kids (or ask them to bring their favorites), and a designate a play space. If the parents are okay with it, you can always show some favorite holiday movies. If you are concerned about the adults having a good time with as few interruptions as possible, see if you can find a neighborhood teen who is willing to help entertain the kids.