Holidays are fast approaching and the excitement is already filling my house - along with the stress and pressure. Does anyone else feel like Holidays bring such a delicate balance of avoiding burnout, emotions, and family dynamics while also enjoying the moments that come along with it? As newlyweds, our first holiday season together was so exciting - we were lucky to not feel stressed too much but as our family has grown, our kids get older and our partner's and siblings' life stages change it has gotten harder and harder. Hosting holidays can be a whole new level of excitement and stress, but either way, one thing is certain and that is the amount of work, planning and prep that goes into planning family holidays increase dramatically. In this blog we are going to cover all the hosting basics from choosing the location, menu, ideas, tips and (because we like to cover everything) a week of timeline that breaks down common tasks you want to do. If you want the real info to dig into you'll want to download the free 14-page guide - with examples, and a week of timeline.
Stop overthinking your holiday plans and save this free 14-page guide to get honest and fun ideas.
So you’re thinking about, or already committed to hosting a holiday event. Now what? Where should you even start? In our opinion, we think this comes down to the same first step as any event - picking a date and location.
For holidays you are hosting you want to plan the date with any co-hosts, or if it’s a family event talk to them to make sure that they are available. Coordinating schedules gets trickier the older everyone gets and the more each person/couple needs to juggle their families as well. Hosting for friends or work is usually a bit easier and you can choose what works best for you and go from there.
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Where should you host the holidays?
What about your holiday menu?
Or grab the FREE guide HERE.
Where should you host the holidays?
For location our holiday guide focuses on two main options: 1) hosting at home or 2) hosting at a venue (private event venue whether a single room or a full venue). The free guide you can grab HERE lists out the pros and cons of each so here we’ll just focus on the main things that could make one option a better fit than another.
Who is on your invitation holiday dinner/party list? The bigger and longer the list gets the more room you’re going to need. Plus don’t forget if you are picturing a sit down meal that requires more tables/chairs which means logistically more room then a casual event or if you are only doing a cocktail style event with appetizers or desserts.
Be honest with yourself - do you have the time to plan, clean, set up/decorate, grocery shop, menu plan, clean (again), cook, host and clean up. Most importantly though - are you able to get it all done and still enjoy it yourself? That’s the goal afterall right? If your schedule is already filling up with events, commitments and it’s the busiest time of the year at work that does not mean you cannot host, but maybe you’d enjoy it more if you had a place to do it without having to get your home ready before and after the holiday party. Or maybe all you need is to ask for help and have a co-host or two.
Finally, and just as important is to think about what you are picturing for that day. For most new home owners and young couples/families hosting a holiday in your home is something you dream about and are wanting to make happen. If that's your priority then be sure to plan your invitation list, the date you choose and the events around that. If you are picturing something with outdoor strung lights, fire pits or live entertainment but have none of that at home then it’s time to do a google search and see what options you might have.
Whichever route you choose just be sure that you are allowing yourself the opportunity to ENJOY the festivities too - without that, hosting is just a chore you’ll dread and will exhaust you each step of the way.
What about your holiday menu?
Next up on the planning list - the food YUM! This is what most people look forward to the most,
which can mean the pressure is on. After all, a party without food is just a meeting. Here’s a secret for those of you that do not own an apron let alone want to spend hours in the kitchen. Many people have holiday parties catered. That’s right - they leave it to the pros. Of course you can order from restaurants, but we suggest looking into local caterers instead. Professional caterers usually have holiday menus ready for you to look over, with details on pricing and custom options as well. In addition to that, they typically can offer you a variety of services and presentations including:
In-house chef prepared (great for smaller events) or buffet/family-style set up
Event staff to serve, bus, and wash dishes
Bartender to serve
And maybe most importantly… a clean kitchen at the end of the evening.
For those of you that are excited and ready to tackle the cooking on your own we would LOVE to see what your menu is (foodies!) tag us in your post or direct message us the details on Instagram. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, we have pulled together a classic menu, complete with grocery list (yes please) and recipes. Go read more on the blog post HERE.
Now my favorite part - the sweets! In our family growing up baking is something everyone does and is a part of. No cookie recipe is too complex to tackle - and each one is guaranteed to bring smiles to your guests face. So, if you are looking for some ideas of cookies and sweets you can bake ahead of time and freeze until your party be sure to check out our must have holiday cookie list HERE.
If you need a bit more guidance on what your menu should entail, or how to prep your own shopping list from your recipes read on in our guide friends!
Ideas to make your holiday party fun or unique
If you follow along with us on social media you probably have noticed we love adding special touches to every celebration, get-together and moment. Why not? Everything in life deserves to be celebrated even if it’s something small - it’s better to focus on the happy moments in life right? So in our guide we’ve pulled together 10 ideas for themes or to make your holiday get-together a little unique.
Holiday parties are already their own theme, complete with endless options for decorations right? So if you are not into the extra touches you can totally skip it. Regardless of what you do - here are a few areas and ways you can add simple touches to the get together.
Food and drink signage (print a template, hand write or create your own)
Welcome sign at the entry
Festive background music or movie playing
Invitations: make them fun! If you do a theme start with these, or add a note to guests so they can wear appropriate clothes/costumes if necessary
Keep it fun! Incorporate games: yard, board, card or group games.
Add a photo opp: whether it’s in front of decor, or a backdrop created specifically for photos you will want to get some photos snapped of your guests and the evening
Holiday party planning already stressing you out?
We get it - even for us, event professionals, hosting is always a little more complicated than you wish it was. The to-do list to get everything ready in time seems to be never ending too! If you are looking for ideas or inspiration on how to relax during the holiday season - especially if you plan to host - then check out the 12th page in our free download for some ideas. We’ve also included our favorite ways to relax for you too, some are easy to do at home and others will leave you feeling refreshed and pampered.
Holiday Hosting: Week of Timeline
Before we wrap this up we wanted to touch on one more thing - the timeline. Wh
en it comes to hosting it’s important (especially for your mental well-being) to have a timeline drafted so that you don’t feel overwhelmed like you forgot an important part and that you don’t get behind and end up stressed. You can use our free timeline to get started and feel free to make it your own by adding/removing anything to truly make it fit your plans. Just remember that you chose to host the holiday event for a reason - and you deserve to enjoy it too! So whether your guest list is 10 or 100+ people, you have got this! It will be over before you know it, so don’t overthink it, and definitely don’t stress yourself out about it. The best part about holidays are the people you surround yourself with and the memories you make. Odds are every one of the guests you have invited has been in your shoes and completely understands - so don’t put too much pressure on yourself friends.
This Episode was hosted by AMANDA
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Read more helpful tips on:
Holiday Menu (with grocery list)
Our Favorite Holiday Sweets (with recipes)