Lessen your Christmas dinner hosting stress - Metro US

Lessen your Christmas dinner hosting stress

Hosting Christmas or holiday dinner for the first time can be a terrifying prospect to newbies. Heck, even if you’ve done it before, the notion can make you weak in the knees!

It is, after all, not to be taken lightly. It is an event, a marathon to some. But it doesn’t have to be.

First of all, realize the whole affair can be very stressful, so take the time to make it as easy as possible. Even now, mere days before the event, take the time and plan out the event. To help you plan effectively, here are some points to consider:

• Finalize the number of guests that you will have, and decide how much you want to spend.

• This will lead you easily into a decision on how you will serve your meal — formal, buffet, sit-down casual or an eat-around-the-house kind of dinner.

• From there, decide on the logistics. How many chairs do you need? Is the table large enough? Etc.

• Are you planning a potluck? If you are entertaining a large group, a potluck may save you. If you decide on a potluck, plan your menu and ask guests to bring a particular category of food, such as a salad or appetizer.

• Do not hesitate to ask for help. Ask your sister-in-law to help you decorate your house in style. Phone your brother to help you move furniture. Enlist the family teenagers to do cleanup duty. Designate a turkey carver.

• If needed, order the foods now that you may not find later in the week, such as a honey-roasted ham or fresh turkey. If you are ordering in, plan the menu and order the food.

• About a week ahead of time, start shopping for the non-perishable items you need, like mineral water, alcoholic drinks, coffee, tea, plastic containers for leftovers and so on.

• Finalize the menu and shop for perishable items a few days before. Cook ahead as much as possible. Complete last-minute cleaning and decorating, such as preparing a simple centerpiece for the table, perhaps with coloured balls and a glass vase.

• On the day, finish your preparations in the kitchen, set out the table, and hop into the shower. Then deck yourself out in your best holiday gear, put on the Christmas music, and have a drink. Enjoy that peaceful moment, because you’ll soon be engulfed in Christmas cheer. Whew!

• Above all, remember to have a great holiday!

– Sylvia Putz is a journalist with an interest in decor and design. She’s written for the TV show Arresting Design; sputz@arrestingdesign.com.

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