Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

How full is your holiday social calendar? Between the office party, the family gatherings, the school plays and the neighborhood open houses you could be experiencing a lot of parties over the holidays. You might also be the host for one of those gatherings. If so, then the goal is to have a wonderful party without the stress. That is a tall order with everything else that is going on during the holidays but you can make it happen.

Here’s how to throw a stress-free holiday party:

Break Out the List

You’ve probably already made your present shopping list. The holiday party will need its own list and it’s not just what to pick up at the grocery store. You might also be getting some food from a caterer or restaurant. There will also be drinks and decorations. If this is a family party, then you might want to delegate some of those list pickups with the other family members. Actually, the more you can delegate, the less stress you’ll take on.

Cook Ahead

The menu for your holiday party should consist of as much as you can of dishes that you can cook ahead and reheat for the party. Stews and chili that can be served right out of a crock pot is a good way to go. The last thing you want is to be stuck in your kitchen for the duration of the party.

Stock Up

Crackers, snacks, cups, drinks and liquor. Those are all the things you’ll want to stock up on in the days leading up to your party. You can buy in bulk weeks out and that way you won’t be overwhelmed by shopping the day before the party. Just start to group all the things that you’re buying for the party on a table or pantry shelf so it will be easy to access.

Focus on Comfort

For holiday parties, the buffet is the best approach. This allows for people to come and good for food as opposed to having to have everything timed out perfectly. It also frees up your guests to mingle at their pleasure as opposed to being anchored to a chair around the dining room table.

Don’t Forget the Music

Most cable services also provide music channels. There will always be a holiday channel streaming non-stop festive tunes. If you want to control the music, then you can recreate your own playlist and have that play, as well but it is nice to let someone else be the DJ!

Make It an Open House

Having an open house means you invite guests to show up between a certain time frame. This takes a lot of pressure off on your and your guests. You only have to have things ready at the start and then you can relax.