Temps are lower, days are shorter, leaves are changing and you’ve got plenty on your plate already, so spare yourself all the research/stress/anxiety and check out my advice on Hosting A Holiday Party When You (Secretly) Hate Hosting!
I’ve been thinking about hosting a holiday party this year. I love the idea of a holiday-themed party where everyone wears a cliche ugly sweater. I’d send out invitations encouraging guests to get ready for a Spotify holiday playlist & lots of holiday cheer.
We’d enjoy conversation, music, and perhaps some board games all while surrounded by hordes of holiday garland & twinkle light necklaces…sigh.
But, the caveat: I hate hosting.
I have some serious house-party-hosting anxieties (ie. hosting a party sounds stressful as all get-out and I hate it.) I hate the anxiety of making sure we have the right foods for everyone’s’ dietary needs, the right amount of beverages, the best possible playlist, having enough seats, feeling responsible for people’s happiness, etc.
This is such a shame because I can and have hosted successful parties, and realistically I would love to do it again.
How Can I Host a Holiday Party When I Secretly Hate Hosting?
Hosting can seem overwhelming, I know. And, if we are being honest, it can down-right suck.
I did some brainstorming and talked to a planning expert to compile the best stress-busting tips for hosting a holiday party, even if you hate hosting!
According to event stylist & planner Ashley Kuehnel, of Midwestern Bride, planning ahead is the most important aspect of hosting a holiday party.
She says, “The key is to plan ahead even more than you think is necessary. When your closest family and friends are coming, you want to enjoy your time with them. It’s important to not get stuck cleaning, cooking, and setting up when they are there to enjoy time with you.”
She likes setting aside each place-setting so she can pull them out quickly: “I cook ahead and/or freeze what I can so that when they come the pie is finishing in the oven, the crockpot is warming the soup, and all that I need to be tending to is drinks as they arrive. I like to have specialty drinks in a dispenser or hot beverages on the stove at the ready.”
“The key is to be a well-prepared hostess as well as a guest at your own event. They wouldn’t come to you if they didn’t want to see you. Be present,” says Ashley.
Keep Your Holiday Party Size Manageable
The adage, K.I.S.S.(Keep it simple, stupid) rings true here.
Although I prefer: Keep It Small and Simple. In order to combat the anxiety that comes from being surrounded by hundreds of people and trying to make small talk as the host, I tend to keep parties simple.
Instead of inviting my friends from work, friends from the neighborhood, family members and my husband’s bowling buddies, I will narrow it down to just one or two “friend-groups”. This makes it easier for guests to talk to each other because they will all have something in common, and it makes less effort on my part to make introductions or keep the conversation running from one group to the next.
Find a Holiday Party You’re Excited About
Listen, if Thanksgiving feast prep doesn’t make your toes curl in anticipation: DO NOT HOST THANKSGIVING!
If you’re thinking of hosting a holiday party, choose one with themes or traditions you can totally get behind. If you find a theme that gets you really excited, I promise you’ll be able to stay invested in it and thus not be stressed out in its preparation.
Maybe Halloween is more your jam… or ringing in the new year. Find a holiday that speaks to you and host then. Don’t try to be excited about something that you simply aren’t.
Make Clean-Up Easy
Seriously, this is the key to hosting a stress-free holiday party. Little to clean up, no one will accidentally break grandma’s heirloom china, and you don’t have to polish any silverware!
I’m not kidding here. Use disposable. Your anxiety will thank you.
They make compostable plates & flatware that look pretty nice! After the party, these bamboo plates & flatware can be added to your compost pile and they will be biodegraded in 4-6months. They are sturdy and hold up well for multiple go-arounds at the snack table. They have been used at a ton of weddings we’ve photographed and at a lot of the local MKE food trucks.
If you decide to give any of these tips a try, then I promise you won’t be disappointed. Happy hosting!
Any party-throwers out there? What would you add? What events have you had the most success with?