Whether you are the ultimate party planner or you’re simply the go-to house for holiday gatherings because no one else volunteers to host, it IS possible to have a stress-free get-together. Follow these suggestions and ideas on how to have a memorable gathering, without the added stress that typically comes with planning and hosting a party.

Plan. This is vital to not running errands the day before (or hours) before your gathering and being exhausted before your guests even arrive. At least a few weeks before your event, plan the menu and any details regarding special decorations you may want. Consider asking attendees to bring some of their favorite decorations that they might not be using at home this year.

Choose make-ahead food dishes. By choosing foods you can make ahead of time, you can enjoy your guests while not having to mind the food. This means you reap the benefits of a memory together, too! Consider using kitchen tools to streamline the process. Try a warmer or slow-cooker, or a mix of refrigerated foods that will allow little prep on the day of your gathering.

Shop early. This goes hand in hand with planning ahead. You don’t want to arrive at the grocery store at the last minute only to discover that the specific items you need are out of stock. Find items you can easily freeze.

Enlist help. Yes, this means asking your loved ones to bring a dish to pass. Consider posting a tentative menu and ask for guests to bring some of the listed dishes. Enlisting help also means asking those you live with to help tidy and clean the house. If you live independently, have helping hands come clean with you the day before and offer to share a meal together as a repayment for their kindness.

Simplify dishware and silverware. Consider using disposable plates, utensils, cups and napkins so there’s less cleanup at the end of the gathering. Having disposable containers on-hand can be helpful if you tend to have leftovers that you offer your guests to take with them. It’s a nice way to say thank you for the time well-spent together! This also helps reduce food waste, but your guests will also appreciate the extra food around the busy holiday season.


“Easy Holiday Entertaining Tips for a Stress-Less Holiday Season,”  healthyfamilyproject.com, accessed Nov. 12, 2023.

“5 Easy Tips for The Holiday Season,” tinybeans.com, accessed Nov. 12, 2023.