3 ways to take the stress out of holiday hosting

The holiday season is one of the best times of the year.

Between cooking, cleaning and keeping guests entertained, it also can be demanding on your time and energy.

In fact, during the holiday season, adults are five times more likely to say the level of stress in their life increases rather than decreases, according to the American Psychiatric Institute.

This year, make life easier for yourself with these stress-reducing holiday entertaining tips:

Meal prep

Getting ahead on meal prep can mean more time spent with friends and family.

If you’re tasked with serving a big holiday meal, prep the main dishes a day or two ahead of time so you can just pop them into the oven the day of your holiday feast. You also can brine and season turkey, prepare your glaze and score the ham, chop veggies and pre-mix salad dressings the night before.

Festive beverages can be batched in advance so guests easily can serve themselves, helping you stay calm and collected during your party. And of course, don’t feel shy about asking friends and family to contribute a dish.

Have dessert ready

Whether you’re throwing a holiday bash or expecting overnight guests, you’ll be the host with the most if you have delicious desserts on hand. Fortunately, serving baked goods made with care and quality ingredients is easier than you think.

Stick with the classics that can keep you prepared for the night ahead should the doorbell surprise you with carolers or other visitors. They also can round out a buffet spread, help you end a multi-course feast on a sweet note or simplify breakfast for overnight guests. All you’ll need to do is put the coffee on.

Plan a game night

If your overnight guests will be spending more than a night or two at your home, you can keep them happy and entertained with some activities that require very little planning but are a lot of fun.

For example, you can organize a game night, which is a nice way to maximize your time together. Pick a few games that are well-suited for the size of the crowd and the age of the players. Remember, the best choices for a party are games that inspire conversations, teamwork and creativity.

Or, plan a movie marathon, picking some holiday themed crowd favorites in advance. You can simplify feeding your guests during these low-key activities by putting out some finger foods like crudité, popcorn, pretzels and donut holes.

With a few tips and strategies, you can ensure holiday entertaining goes as smoothly as possible.

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