Make a List… And Check It Twice
As you write your list, group the things you must buy and the tasks you must take care of before the gathering into categories (food, decorations, drinks, chores, etc.). Not only will all this preparation ensure you don’t forget anything important, but it will also go a long way in reducing your stress levels.
Accident-Proof Your Home
Have you decorated you home with great care? Children, especially when excited, can really do a number on your rooms! Remember to put away fragile items, such as beautiful floor vases. You should likewise cover your sofas—that are difficult to clean or in light-coloured upholstery—with pretty blankets (perhaps in a Holiday-themed pattern like plaid) to prevent stains. This will be one less thing to worry about!
Simplify the Menu
Food can be another source of stress. You know, you are under no obligation to serve the traditional turkey for Christmas dinner. Indeed, roasting a massive bird is no easy task. Opt instead for homemade premade meals. Pick up certain dishes, such as the tourtière, meatball stew, sugar pie or Yule log cake, at a neighbourhood caterer or baker. If you’re set on cooking everything yourself, however, prepare the dishes several days in advance and freeze them.
Set Up a Wine, Beer, Cocktail and Coffee Bar
One thing hosts worry about is not having enough time to see to their guests’ needs properly. Each one requires special attention: they all empty their glass at a different pace, have specific requests regarding their cocktail’s ingredients… In short, it’s often best to let them serve themselves!
Set up a drinks area with everything your guests may want, like alcohol, glasses, cups, ice, sugar, etc. Then explain to them that you will serve them their first beverage and coffee, but that they are responsible for their own refills.