The Holidays are fun, or they’re supposed to be, but sometimes it gets hard to remember that when you have people coming over and a hundred things to get done on time. A good way to take some pressure off when hosting a large Holiday dinner party is to have a Party-Preparation Party the day or a couple of days before the actual event.
When you issue an invitation to your home for a Holiday dinner or party, friends and family usually ask if they can do anything to help. If you have your hands full, take them up on it to relieve some of the stress of hosting a dinner or party. Close friends and family usually won’t mind lending a hand or seeing your house a little messy; in fact, they would probably prefer to help out than not, so they don’t feel guilty for letting you do all the work.
To make things easier for you on the day of the main event, ask them if they would be willing to come over the day before to help you prepare by cutting vegetables and preparing things for cooking or baking the next day. They could also help put up decorations or tidy up the house a little.
One year, our cousin was having a Thanksgiving dinner party and Madoline and I went over and spent an evening cutting vegetables and straightening up for him (he lives with a brother and they were a little messy). We had a good time hanging out in the kitchen, something we didn’t get a lot of chance to do because we all had busy lives, so it was fun and the work didn’t feel like work.
If you’re hosting dinners and parties this year and feel a little overwhelmed, give it a try. Most of us already have our hands full during non-Holiday seasons, so don’t be embarrassed if you need a little help around the Holidays. And you can make the preparation fun by turning it into a party of sorts.
Instead of making it just a cook and clean session, schedule in a little rest and relaxation too. Remember, the point of all this is to help relieve stress in preparing for the main event, so it’s not supposed to be a fancy to-do. If you’re not hosting a dinner or party this year but someone close to you is, suggest the idea to them.
Hosting a Party-Preparation Party
- Choose a few close friends and relatives that you are comfortable having around when the house isn’t perfect, who are comfortable with each other, and whom you are comfortable asking for help.
- Put on fun music to listen and sing to while you’re working.
- Have some snacks and drinks around (easy snacks that don’t need preparation – i.e. cookies.)
- Take breaks to chat and enjoy each others’ company.
- When you’ve finished your preparations, have a drink – tea, coffee, hot chocolate or eggnog – and some dessert to unwind a little before they go home.
Everyone will probably be busy and in a hurry to be somewhere or do something from now through New Year’s Day, but it’s important to take some time to relax.
Research has shown that heart-related illnesses claim more lives during the Holiday Season than other times of the year. Researchers attribute this to changes in diet, increased alcohol consumption and emotional stress; they also speculate that people tend to delay treatment because they’re busy. (Deaths Peak During Hoiday Season)
So remember, the Holidays are meant to be a celebration. If you’re feeling stressed, don’t be afraid to ask for help. After all that’s what friends are for. And friends are what the Holdays are all about.