Holiday celebrations are fun but the planning and hosting creates work and sometimes stress. Here are a few ways to reduce stress this season so you can focus on the fun. These were given to me from my neighbor.
– Establish expectations ahead of time with family and friends on the intention of the time together. This helps everyone stay on the same page.
– Depending on the size and type of your party, you may decide to host the holiday gathering outside your home. Old-fashioned inns offer a rustic charm, while a bar or restaurant can provide a lively atmosphere.
– Have a potluck dinner. Assign each person to bring a certain item of food like an appetizer, dessert, side dish, and a beverage to share. Send reminders a few days ahead so attendees remember to bring their dish.
– Set up a hot cocoa bar. Whether you host your party at home or in an outside venue, incorporate a hot cocoa bar to give the party an extra special holiday touch.
– If driving to an event, leave some leeway in case of heavy traffic or bad weather. Call a ride share to avoid driving altogether.
– Ask folks to pitch in with the cleanup: the table, bagging leftovers, sorting dishes, and collecting waste.
– Have board games and cards ready to play around the table. Keep them simple and friendly. Suggestions are Scrabble, Clue, Charades, and Rummikub.
– Have an arts and crafts project that everyone can do. Make an ornament, decorate cookies, or decorate a gingerbread house.
– Create a holiday music playlist or choose your favorite streaming music station. Holiday music makes parties more festive.
– Set out a Polaroid camera or several disposable cameras for guest to capture memories. They can have the photos as a gift.
– Set up a table for guests to write personal notes to friends and family expressing why that person is important to them. Make it a craft – provide the blank cards to decorate with stickers and custom designs.
– Make it a theme. Invite guests to wear their favorite sweater or dress like a character from their favorite movie or TV show.
– Treat yourself to a massage after the holiday party.
– Start with the basics—what theme should the party have, where should it take place, how many people are coming, when should it happen, and what food and drinks will be served during the occasion.
Carol Marak is an aging advocate and editor at Seniorcare.com. She holds a Certificate in Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.