Advice for Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining

Advice for Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining

Some people truly enjoy having everyone come over to their house; for others, it’s anxiety educing. And we certainly understand why!

Is this the case for you? And is it your turn to host the family Christmas gathering this year? The following tips will help you ensure that the big day is as pleasant and hassle-free as possible. 

Make a List… And Check It Twice

As you write your list, group the things you must buy and the tasks you must take care of before the gathering into categories (food, decorations, drinks, chores, etc.). Not only will all this preparation ensure you don’t forget anything important, but it will also go a long way in reducing your stress levels.

Accident-Proof Your Home

Have you decorated you home with great care? Children, especially when excited, can really do a number on your rooms! Remember to put away fragile items, such as beautiful floor vases. You should likewise cover your sofas—that are difficult to clean or in light-coloured upholstery—with pretty blankets (perhaps in a Holiday-themed pattern like plaid) to prevent stains. This will be one less thing to worry about!

Simplify the Menu

Food can be another source of stress. You know, you are under no obligation to serve the traditional turkey for Christmas dinner. Indeed, roasting a massive bird is no easy task. Opt instead for homemade premade meals. Pick up certain dishes, such as the tourtière, meatball stew, sugar pie or Yule log cake, at a neighbourhood caterer or baker. If you’re set on cooking everything yourself, however, prepare the dishes several days in advance and freeze them.

Set Up a Wine, Beer, Cocktail and Coffee Bar

One thing hosts worry about is not having enough time to see to their guests’ needs properly. Each one requires special attention: they all empty their glass at a different pace, have specific requests regarding their cocktail’s ingredients… In short, it’s often best to let them serve themselves!

Set up a drinks area with everything your guests may want, like alcohol, glasses, cups, ice, sugar, etc. Then explain to them that you will serve them their first beverage and coffee, but that they are responsible for their own refills.

Prepare a Holiday Party Playlist

Are you maybe afraid that the gathering will be boring? For a swinging party atmosphere, prepare a musical playlist that will have your guest tapping their feet. As a suggestion, for the first hour, have instrumental renditions of Holiday classics, or jazz or piano playing in the background. Then, as the evening progresses, switch to more lively non-seasonal tunes that your guests can dance to. The fact is that by December 25 most people can’t take any more kitschy Christmas music!

A Well Set but Understated Table

 It is possible to set an elegant table without having to spend a lot of money. For example, use plates that are the same colour as the tablecloth and arrange some fir branches in the middle as a centrepiece.

Soothing Lighting

Everyone knows that glaring neon illumination renders a room cold and uninviting. Ensure your guests feel comfortable—and you as well—by softening the lighting with multiple light sources (table lamps, standing lamps, fairy lights, etc.). Or set the scene with string lights made up of multicoloured bulbs. The point is to make your guests feel at ease … which will undoubtedly lift any tension you might be feeling!

Appoint a Designated Helper

If you’re the only person hosting in your home, ask someone to come over and assist you during the get-together, such as a cousin or aunt skilled in the art of entertaining. Most people enjoy lending a hand! Plus, you will feel reassured by this person’s presence at your side. Thank them afterwards with a special gift if you like!

Manage the Financial Pressure

Finally, it may be that it’s your budget that is causing you the most anxiety, especially with soaring inflation. Many Quebecers are feeling the pinch! Asking each guest to take part in organizing the dinner party is increasingly popular, either by bringing a dish or drinks, participating in the decorating, or contributing with a small amount of cash.


We hope our advice helps you feel that you have everything in hand. Happy Holidays!

RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

A leader in the real estate industry since 1982, the RE/MAX network brings together the most efficient brokers.