Holiday Hosting Tips

Holiday Hosting Tips

This will be our second year hosting both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hosting the holidays was something I had dreamed about doing for years. Growing up, my grandmother used to host the holidays and I used to look forward to the whole family getting together to enjoy dinner together in my grandparent’s small but cozy dining room. After my grandparents passed away, my godmother picked up the hosting, but once I got married, it was passed down to me. As stressful as it can be at times, having everyone together in one place is so worth it and I really enjoy hosting!

These tips are pretty universal and are just some things that I’ve picked up over the years from watching my family host, and then hosting myself. It doesn’t really matter if you’re hosting 4 people or 18! These apply to any number of guests. 🙂

Plan Ahead

One of the best things you can do is to plan ahead.

Get your head count early and always plan to be ready for one extra person. (Leading up to our first Thanksgiving, we got word of two extra guests coming… the night before!) Figure out how you’re going to fit people comfortably in your place. If you’re having a bigger guest list and don’t have a huge dining room, you’ll probably have to pass on things like charger plates or fancy centerpieces that take up more room on the table. Instead, settle for something simpler. The comfort of your guests is ultimately more important than decor.

You will also want to plan your menu ahead of time. If you’re doing all of the cooking, try to buy the non-perishable items a few weeks ahead of time so you can balance out the grocery costs. Remember that you (most likely) only have one oven, so you’ll have to remember not everything can be in there at the same time and plan accordingly.

Thankfully, in my family, we do a potluck/buffet style. If you can do this (especially for bigger groups), I highly recommend it! As the host, you can make the bigger items, such as a turkey and main dessert, while your guests can each bring a side or their favorite miscellaneous dish. It helps take the pressure off of you and, if everyone only has to bring one thing, there usually isn’t any complaining!

Set Up Ahead of Time

Something that we do that has proven to be helpful is to set up the table the night before, sometimes even two nights before. We usually host for a big group, so we use our dining room table and also push a fold-out table next to it to create one super long table. The night before, we like to set the table with the plates, napkins, and silverware. One thing I was overwhelmed with the first year was how I would have enough matching plates without breaking the bank since sets get expensive. What I ended up doing was going to the Dollar Store and they had really nice, heavy duty white ceramic plates with a simple dotted border. I got 20 of those and now I know I always have enough for the holiday dinners!

Since we do usually have a large group, I don’t get to decorate the table much, but I try to have at least two small vases of flowers and some tea light candles.

Set The Mood

For Christmas this year, I took the time to make a Christmas playlist on Spotify. They have tons of holiday themed playlists to choose from, but I wanted to make my own mix of modern and traditional songs that everyone could enjoy. Music is really good at tying things together and Christmas music playing during Christmas dinner is a no brainer.

Incorporate Tradition

The holidays are all about being together with your loved ones and making memories and traditions. Something we do at Christmas is we always light a candle for our loved ones who are no longer with us. I keep it lit from the time I get up in the morning until the end of the festivities. Its a nice touch and little reminder that our family that has passed away are still near and dear.

Another tradition I’ve personally incorporated into our holidays is that I always put our Thanksgiving turkey on my late grandmother’s serving dish. She is my original hostess inspiration and I hope that one day I can be as good of a host as she was.

Lastly but most importantly…

Remember to enjoy! Don’t forget to fill YOUR plate and make sure you sit down and enjoy the day. If you’re lucky, someone will help you clean but, even if that isn’t the case, there aren’t many days in the year that you’ll be cleaning up after such a big dinner. Just deal with it later when everyone has left.

Sit down… Eat your meal… Take it all in… Enjoy!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and that 2018 is filled with health and happiness!

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