4 Tips for Hosting Your Family for the Holidays

The holiday season is almost intentionally contradictory. On the one hand, ten of your relatives fly into town to celebrate, reminisce, and enjoy each other’s company.

On the other hand… You’re now responsible for hosting ten relatives.

But remember: life isn’t a Hallmark movie, so forget about flawless family feasts and picture-perfect fireplace decor. When hosting for the holidays, simplicity and planning are your best friends—and maybe enlisting your actual best friends for a little assistance. Read on for some tips to host a celebration with all of the festive and none of the frenzy.

Get Out of the House

Does hosting have you feeling like a dancing monkey? Being stuck inside all day with very little to do can increase the pressure to become the life of the party, which gets exhausting fast.

Take a load off your shoulders and get the gang outside. Stepping outdoors not only takes the spotlight off of you but also has massive health benefits for everyone involved.

Here are some excellent ways to enjoy the winter weather:

  • Hiking – This could mean an hour-long hike around the park or even a day trip if your company is staying for longer. Make sure to pack all the hand warmers and snacks you need for this adventurous excursion.
  • Ice skating – Check your local area for any ice-skating rinks and flaunt your Winter Olympic skills with the family. Just check if you’ll need to rent or bring your own skates.
  • Snowman building – Ah, a classic. All you need are some mittens, a carrot, and two buttons, and you’ve got yourself a creative afternoon for kids and adults alike.

Plan Out Meals

Turkey, tofurky, or ham? Mashed or roasted? Wait, does someone have a gluten allergy?!

Deep down, everyone just wants a tasty home-cooked meal during the holidays. The key to cooking for a crowd is planning. Don’t let it slide until the final day, or you’ll drown in burnt gravy.

The week before, pick out your recipes, write an organized list of all ingredients, and hit the stores. For larger groups, consider cooking certain dishes ahead of time. Glass Pyrex containers and large disposable trays are excellent for freezer storage. By thinking ahead, you’ll actually be able to enjoy the day of the feast.

For Decor, K.I.S.S.

No, we don’t mean the underneath-the-mistletoe type of kiss. We’re talking about the ultimate acronym to remember this holiday season: Keep It Simple… Silly (or another S-word you’re already thinking of).

Despite what the Hallmark movies and big box store advertisements show, you don’t have to see your house from outer space to enjoy the holidays. Stick to the basics with holiday decor, and you will keep both an elegant home and your peace of mind.

Here are a few essential decorations to bring the holiday cheer:

  • Flowers – This quintessential centerpiece goes with every season. All you need is a beautiful peony bouquet to bring a refreshing air to the dinner table.
  • Lights – Twinkling lights practically scream “Happy Holidays.” Ditch the animatronic reindeer and 12-foot-tall blowup Santa Claus for a few colorful strands inside and outside the house.


It seems silly to even think about relaxing when you’re on your hosting A-game. But if guests are staying for longer than a day, you’re going to need any stress relief you can get.

Focus on relaxing activities you can accomplish in short periods:

  • Try a meditation smartphone app to squeeze in ten minutes of guided stress-relief.
  • Rollable aromatherapy oil can bring instant calm to your day with one whiff.
  • Don’t forget to sweat it out—circuit training, yoga, or a quick jog will send in a rush of endorphins to the rescue.


You don’t need two maids and a butler to pull off hosting for the holidays (though that certainly couldn’t hurt). Keep these tips by your side, and you’ll stay cool as an icicle while providing a festive home for all.