Kathy’s Blog: Six Ways To Plan a Stress-Free Holiday Dinner


Well, it’s that time again! Time to enjoy family, laughter, lots of food, and much needed quality time with loved ones. The holidays are my favorite time of year, but when your schedule is as busy as ours can be, hosting can be quite a challenge.  I can hear the thoughts of our family members now, “You plan all of those events so it is only natural that you should be able to plan yours and for it to run smoothly, right?” If only they knew.

If you’re struggling to plan your event while on-the-go these few tips may help you strategize; they have helped me tremendously over the years.

 Send Invitations As Early As Possible: Christmas Eve/Christmas dinner requires a proper headcount and knowing how many to prepare for will help you avoid last-minute seating challenges and food concerns.

Decide On Your Set-Up:  Once you have a confirmed headcount, decide how you will be laying out the event. If you need rentals, order them as early as you can. Ensure seating allows for comfortable movement through the area.

Create a Full Menu:  From appetizers and the meal, to dessert and coffee, have a clear understanding of what you plan to serve and when. Then, in order to avoid running into crowds (and out of items), go grocery shopping early. Do this even if it seems like it’s too early. Note: Be sure to ask guests about food allergies.

Delegate: Don’t be afraid to ask family members to share in the responsibilities!  Put mom in charge of picking up the pie and ask Uncle Frank if he would not mind helping to set up the tables. This not only alleviates stress, it can be a great way to bond.

Do The Major Chores Two Weeks In Advance: Avoid procrastination and clean the areas you want to look pristine early. By the time Christmas week comes around, all of your major chores will be done and it will just be a matter of making minor adjustments.

Finally, Show Gratitude:  This quarter, I’ve been traveling almost on a weekly basis. It’s been incredibly challenging to balance back-to-school meetings, school drop-offs, soccer games, Sunday dinners, pumpkin picking, Halloween costume shopping, Thanksgiving, and well, just about everything else, but we’ve managed. I can’t thank my husband enough for being the best dad in the world to our children. It’s because of him and his incredible support that I’m able to manage all tasks at hand.  As always, I am incredibly thankful for my family.

How do you prepare for holiday hosting? Share your own tips (or even a favorite recipe) below!

 With a Happy Heart,


Kathy Romero is the CEO and Head of Global Planning for Preston Bailey Designs. She shares her thoughts and advice on Preston’s Blog every other Thursday.

(Photo Courtesy of Robert Evans)

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