6 Steps to Stress-free Holiday Entertaining


A little planning and prep can make holiday hosting much more pleasant. Follow these 6 steps for a stress-free holiday entertaining experience.

Hi, Kenarry friends! I’m Rita Joy from Harbour Breeze Home, and I’m thrilled to be here today.

During the month of December, people often find themselves bustling trying to accomplish a multitude of tasks. And, sometimes ~ in the middle of it all ~ you may find yourself hosting a holiday party!

I don’t consider myself a party planner in any way, shape, or form, but find that offering to host a get together is all that is really needed for a party to happen! Over the years, I’ve developed a simple little formula for preparing for an event. Once these things are prepared in advance, all I need to do is welcome my guests and enjoy!

Here are my 6 steps for stress-free holiday hosting:

Fix It and Forget It

Nothing is more stressful than having guests arrive before the food is ready. Plan what food item(s) you’ll be preparing, and do as much in advance as possible. For this particular party, almost all the guests were bringing appetizers, so I chose to do a dessert.

I baked this cake 2 days before the event, froze it, and took it out of the freezer and glazed it the day of the party. Easy peasy (and delicious!).

Clear It Out

Make room in your entryway closet for guests’ coats,  shoes, and purses by stashing some of your own in your bedroom. This is especially helpful when you live in a small space like we do.

Stress Free Holiday Entertaining

Set It Up

One of the things I enjoy most about holiday entertaining is the opportunity to bring out the good china and make the table pretty! A few days before the party, we put the extra leaves in our table, cleared the decor off the buffet, and set the table.

I intentionally left lots of bare space for the guests to put their appetizers when they arrived.

A simple centerpiece of 3 roses and greenery in an antique pitcher was low enough for guests to see over.

Stress Free Holiday Entertaining

Because I didn’t have enough of one kind of charger, I alternated gold with rustic woven ones.

Stress Free Holiday Entertaining

Colorful Christmas napkins were layered onto the plates with a fabric napkin folded Christmas tree. (I found the instructions here.)

Stress Free Holiday Entertaining

Pretty Up the Powder Room

Guests will most likely need to use the powder room before the evening is over, so give it a quick clean. Set out items that they may need (like extra toilet paper and hand lotion) where they are easy to find.

Stress Free Holiday Entertaining

Prep the Drinks

My contribution for the drinks for this party was coffee, tea and punch. I mixed up the punch in the early afternoon and let it chill in the fridge. I also ground the coffee beans, and set up the coffee maker so all I needed to do was press “start”, and the teapot was all ready to go with 2 sets of creamers and sugars to set on the table when dessert time rolled around.

Stress Free Holiday Entertaining

Plan a Game / Activity

This is where I find myself at a loss in the party planning process. But, usually, someone attending loves the game aspect and will give an idea or two. This time we made a take home craft ornament, and did a hilarious gift exchange. (Each guest was to bring a gift that was the oddest/ most unusual/ weird item they could find at a thrift store for $5 or under. Oh, my. We laughed til our cheeks hurt…)

Relax and Enjoy!

I always find myself a tad nervous before hosting an event. (Please tell me I’m not alone!) There’s always a point where I question my sanity…but in the end, without fail, I’m always glad I did it. The truth is, most of the time people just simply enjoy the chance to get together. As hosts, our responsibility is to just provide the atmosphere. The guests do all the rest!

Happy hosting, and Merry Christmas to you!


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What’s Next?

While you’re here, be sure to check out other holiday ideas on Ideas for the Home by Kenarry® –

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