The Simple Joy of Holiday Entertaining
Entertaining in your home is an important part of the Holidays. Spending time with family and friends over great food is an incredible way to increase the joy of the season.
Unfortunately, most women I know groan when you mention Holiday entertaining. They are already tremendously stressed over the basic Holiday tasks that have been added to her enormous to-do list that she doesn’t know how she is ever going to get everything done. Who wants to add a party on top of that?
Well, if you do things the Simple Joy way, Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, it can be very easy. The primary thing you must remember is:
Attend Your Own Party!
You should never invite friends over to show off. Entertaining during the holidays is about relationships not about bragging rights. Creating an atmosphere where guests are able to relax and enjoy themselves, you are able to move effortlessly through your guests with no stress, no fuss, no worry.
How is this possible? To begin the transformation, follow these three extremely easy steps…
To enjoy your holiday party, you must reduce the stress. The easiest way to reduce your stress is to simplify your event. Mommy was right, Sweetie, “Never bite off more than you can chew!” To maintain a manageable level, follow these “simple” steps:
Plan a holiday event that fits well into the time you have to prepare. There never seems to be enough time during the holidays and nothing brings on stress faster than a shortage of time. Determine what you are able to handle and go with that. Be honest with yourself. Now is not the time to be Super Woman.
Work smarter, not harder. Once you decide the type of event you wish to hold, sit down with pen and paper to determine what needs to be done to prepare. Spend your time creating your list, not running around aimlessly. Save your energy for your party.
Spending hours in the kitchen with a hot stove is simply wilting. Plan a menu that offers dishes your guests will enjoy but will not wear you out. You want to be with your guests at the center of the fun. Choose dishes that can be prepared in advance or require little last minute work. Or, follow the my Simple Joy example: purchase pre-made dishes that only need baking or microwaving. Remember, your guests came to see you, not your food.
You have chosen your event, developed a plan of action and selected your menu. Now you need to decide who is going to do all the work. What do you mean you thought you had to do the work? No, no, no, darling, not when you take my advice:
Decide What Needs to Be Done
You have a plan of action. Take the time NOW to expand on that plan. Determine step by step exactly what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Break things down into very small parts if you need to. Once you are satisfied with your list, copy it to a fresh piece of paper and keep it with you always… or at least until your party is over.
Determine What You Want to Do
With completed list in hand, study it very carefully. What things do you want to do? If you make great desserts, then you may want to save this activity for yourself. If you REALLY like to clean your house, this may be the activity for you. Pick and choose now before others get a crack at the list.
Delegate the Rest
Yes, you are actually going to ask other people to do things to help you get ready for your party. Gee, what a novel idea! Who are these people? Friends, family and hired help. You may hire a company to clean your house or cater the party. Assign tasks to family members. When friends and guests offer their help, accept! Remember, your job is to attend the party. Let others help.
The day of your party arrives. Everything is going smoothly. Now is the time for you to pamper yourself. Take time for you so you have energy for your guests. Here are just a few things you might do for yourself, Pet.
Take a Nap
Can’t have you nodding off in the middle of a conversation. Don’t want any lines under your eyes. Prevent this by taking a little nap before you get ready. Even if you only have a short time, lie down for a few minutes. Relax. Smile and let all your care and tension drift away. Prepare your mind to turn your energy from you to your guests. Now, take a deep breath. Let it out. Open your eyes. It’s time for your bath.
Take a Bath
The Queen never rushes through a shower when she prepares for a party. Time to pull out all the Royal stops. What better way than with a warm relaxing bubble bath. Fill the tub with scented bath salts, light the candles, and turn on music to relax. Then slide deep into the tub. Lean back and let the last of your cares float away, Pet. Not too long, though, you still need to get dressed.
Take a Breath
You’re ready. The food is waiting. The music is playing. The house is perfect. The doorbell rings. Wait! Not just yet. Take a deep breath. Now smile. No, a big warm smile and go greet your guests. The #1 guest (YOU) is in the house!