The best memories are made when families gather together, especially during the holidays. But hosting holiday dinners can be exhausting whether you host small gatherings, or a large holiday feast.
Here are some tips to host a stress-free holiday dinner, even if you have a big family.
Make it a Potluck
Want to host a holiday feast that won’t take you all day to cook? Host a potluck dinner. Have every guest bring a dish to save yourself hours of cooking.
Make sure that you give everyone ample notice of the dinner, and don’t leave the details to chance. To make sure your dinner is balanced, break it down into categories, like:
- Side dishes
Ask you guests to choose one of the categories, and make sure that each one is well represented.
Be considerate of family or friends who don’t have the time or inclination to cook. These guests can bring chips, soda, cookies or other no-cook items.
Start early to eliminate duplication, and be open to suggestions. Starting the planning early will help ensure that you have a well-rounded dinner with interesting and flavorful dishes.
Be mindful of your capabilities, too. If you have limited oven, microwave or refrigerator space, make sure that guests are informed. It may be best to ask them to bring the dishes in a warmer or cooler to prevent a bottleneck in serving dinner.
Hosting a potluck will save you time in the kitchen, but don’t forget that it’s your job to create the ambiance and ensure that everything is on the right track. You may also want to consider taking charge of cooking the main dish. It can be a challenge to transport a ham, turkey or tofurky.
Make it a Family Effort
Whether you’re hosting a potluck or cooking the entire meal yourself, hosting a holiday dinner takes a great deal of work. It can easily become overwhelming and stressful if you try to do everything yourself on top of living your day-to-day life and taking care of the kids.
Delegating tasks to other family members will make your life easier and ease the burden of having to take care of everything yourself.
Assign different chores to the kids, such as:
- Setting the table
- Cleaning the house (vacuuming, dusting, bathrooms, etc.)
- Clearing the table
- Doing the dishes
- Taking out the trash
Don’t be afraid to give the kids more than one chore. Maybe Billy can be in charge of setting and clearing the table, while Stacy empties the trash and loads up the dishwasher.
At the end of the evening, everyone can pitch in to clean up after the guests.
If everyone participates, the party will go much smoother and you’ll be so much less stressed.
For Big Parties, Hire Some Help
Hosting a big party can be fun, but you may need some extra help. Consider hiring a couple of cleaners to help clean up during and after the party. If your budget allows, maybe you can hire a caterer to take care of the food, or at least part of the dinner.
If you plan to serve alcohol at your big party, make sure that you have a plan for guests who may have had a little too much. In 2010, 10,000 people were killed in drunk driving accidents. You don’t want your party guests to become a statistic. Designate a sober driver, take the keys of guests who should not drive, or offer to pay for Uber rides home.
Hosting a family dinner can be fun and memorable, but it can easily get stressful without proper planning. Use the tips above to make the task less daunting and to enjoy your holiday meal with your loved ones.