Every year I think: This will be the year. The year when December doesn’t drive me crazy and make me forget all the wonderful reasons we are celebrating.
I’ve gotten better about that promise in my last few attempts. Part of the solution was figuring out how to host easy, fun, holiday parties. I think I may have a few ideas to help you finally conquer the beast of The Christmas Party.
The Progressive Dinner
My friends and I did this the last couple of years and it was so fun. The secret is to start the party early (around 5 pm) and let the kids congregate at one house with a few sitters, pizza and a movie. Our kids love doing this as much as we do! Then the parents float from house to house for each course of the meal. We always keep it simple. It is so easy to get carried away trying to throw the perfect Pinterest party, but in the end, it’s never worth it. We give ourselves 3 hours and then scoop up our kids just in time for bedtime!
The progressive dinner is less stress overall because you only have to prep one thing: cocktails, appetizer, main course, or a dessert. It’s much less overwhelming than putting together an entire meal! Plus everyone gets to contribute.
Hosting is stressful for me because of the cleaning involved. I feel like I have to clean every facet of my house before I have company over. (I’m slowly getting over this!) One easy way to circumvent all the cleaning is to make reservations at a restuarant. For the holidays, this is something you have to do early, but it is not impossible even in the weeks leading up to Christmas. You can rent a private room for a small fee or keep it casual with a big table in the middle of the restaurant.
I love a good potluck and frankly they are underrated! This year why not invite all your friends over for a casual potluck? Everyone can bring their favorite dish, but stress that it will be casual. Instead of focusing on the centerpieces and the fancy cocktails, just open your home for a laid-back Christmas party everyone can enjoy. And have the kids come too! I’m always amazed at the pack mentality kids take on when they are in a group. They tend to forget the adults even exist.
The Stress-Free Pajama Party
When my husband is out of town I almost always invite my friends over for a post-bedtime get together. We put our kids to bed and then hang out for a couple of hours. Most of the time we are already in pajamas and bring whatever goodies we have lying around–Oreos, leftover dessert–anything goes! Hosting a stress-free Christmas pajama party with a movie and some hot cocoa is a win-win!
Old White Elephant
White Elephant parties are always a hoot. But if you take the stress out of having to BUY a white elephant gift, everything gets a little more relaxed and a little more fun. The deal is, everyone pokes around their house to find something they no longer need or want and it gets wrapped up and thrown in the mix. Maybe it’s a book you’ve already read, or that scarf your mother-in-law got you last year. There are always stories behind these once-owned gifts, which makes the party even better.
Here’s to finally making this year joyful and relaxed! Throwing a party doesn’t have to be stressful. Keep it simple. Keep it small, Keep off Pinterest! And you will be just fine.