8 Tips for Hosting a Stress-Free Holiday Get-Together

SolStock/iStock via Getty Images Plus
SolStock/iStock via Getty Images Plus / SolStock/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Hosting your own holiday get-together is no easy feat—especially when you take into account all of the prep work, grocery store runs, and post-party cleanup time involved. To help you make the most of (almost) every second of your get-together, Mental Floss has teamed up with Pizza Hut to provide you with a list of time-saving, stress-reducing hosting tips to take the hassle out of the holidays. You and your guests will thank us later.

1. Start planning early.

When it comes to prepping for your holiday gathering, it’s important to plan ahead. A few weeks before the event, start to finalize details like your guest list, menu, start time, and other logistics. Planning everything out ahead of time can help you steer clear of any mishaps and last-minute blunders, ensuring you’re as prepared and relaxed as possible when the day arrives.

2. Write out a list (and check it twice!).

While planning ahead, make sure you have a running list of deadlines, chores, and errands that need to be completed leading up to the get-together. Writing everything down will help you stay organized and make it a bit easier to keep tabs on all the moving parts.

Pro tip: While you’ll have the urge to create a spreadsheet for all of this on your laptop, consider writing everything down the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper, which has been shown to help people better retain information.

3. Remember to treat yourself.

With so much to do to get ready, don’t forget to stop and treat yourself this holiday season. Remember, even Santa’s elves have got to eat. So in the lead-up to the big day, if you don’t feel like cooking a big meal for you and the whole family, remember that’s what the Triple Treat Box® from Pizza Hut is for—two medium 1-topping pizzas, breadsticks, and an order of Cinnabon® Mini Rolls. Not only is all that food sure to be a crowd pleaser, all you have to do is answer the door (chimney delivery not yet available) once the food arrives.

4. Simplify the decor.

Instead of springing for a pricey, delicate centerpiece that you’ll be stressing about all night, put some simple flowers (real or fake) in a vase or buy some kitschy holiday decorations that you can reuse for other parties down the road. And don’t worry if your home doesn’t look like a winter wonderland—chances are no one will mind if your living room isn’t bedazzled in string lights or that your tree is fake. Save yourself the time and effort by focusing your energy on nailing the basics so you can enjoy hanging out with your guests. Remember, a warm and inviting home doesn’t necessarily mean a perfectly decorated one.

5. Accept some help.

Don’t be embarrassed to accept some help if or when one of your guests offers it. Having a second set of hands during the cleanup, or asking someone to bring extra food or drinks to the party, can make the whole night much easier. And it can hopefully leave you with more time to actually enjoy the fruits of your labor while playing host.

6. Have a buffet.

Filling the dinner table with the night’s meal is a quick way to cause clutter, confusion, and the inevitable spill. Instead, move the main course onto a counter or table in another room buffet-style and have guests help themselves to as much food as they want.

7. Go disposable.

Give your dishwasher a break by buying disposable plates, cutlery, linens, and cups. This will cut down on cleanup time significantly since you won’t have a mountain of dishes piled up in the kitchen at the end of the night. (And if you pick up an eco-friendly option, you won’t have to feel guilty for not using your actual plates and glasses.) You could also go for a disposable tablecloth to avoid getting your tables stained if someone drops their food.

8. Have your guests add to a shared holiday music playlist.

Any holiday party requires a cheerful music playlist to go along with it—but you shouldn’t be stuck playing DJ the entire night. Instead, use whatever music streaming service you belong to and compile a playlist of your holiday favorites. Then, a few days before the party, ask your friends to send along some of their go-to holiday songs and add those to the list. Put all the music together in one giant playlist and put it on shuffle once the guests arrive. You’ll be left with handpicked holiday music that can provide tunes in the background the entire night without any real work on your part.

The holidays should be a time to relax with your friends and family—not a time to stress over hosting a party. Make your next get-together even easier with Pizza Hut’s Triple Treat Box, which comes packed with two medium, one-topping pizzas, breadsticks, and an order of Cinnabon ®Mini Rolls.

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