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Stress-free holiday cooking tips

Woman cooking

Hosting a holiday get together or party can be daunting. Between decorating, cooking, and welcoming guests, you can quickly feel overwhelmed and a bit frazzled. It happens to the best of us!

But your holiday celebrations don’t need to be that way. Here’s how you can simplify your holiday preparations and enjoy the big day with your guests!

Holiday cooking and entertaining

Ask for help

Don’t be a hero, no one can do everything. Instead of trying to tackle the whole holiday yourself, ask each guest to bring something (whether that’s a side or a dessert). Your guests will be happy to bring something for everyone else to enjoy and this will take a huge weight off your shoulders.

Just be sure to ask everyone what they intend to bring ahead of time so that you can coordinate the menu. Ideally, you want a nice variety of sides and a dessert or two.

When it comes to decorations, setting the tables, etc., you can even involve the whole family! Kids love being able to help out and this allows you to check things off your to-do list without them needing to be in the kitchen!

Holiday cooking food menu

Don’t overdo it

You don’t NEED to make everyone’s favorite dish, you would end up with way too much food. Instead, focus on a small variety of dishes so that everyone can pick what they want to eat. It is very common for home cooks to overdo it and make a lot more food than is necessary, so think through how many people will be attending your get together and try to plan just enough food for the day itself.

A common guide is:

Appetizers: 2 to 3 portions per guest
Soup: 1 cup per guest
Salad: 1 cup per guest
Entrée: 6 ounces per guest
Sides: 5 ounces per guest
Dessert: 1 ½ pieces / servings per guest

Holiday cooking prep ahead

Prep in advance

What can you do ahead of time? If you think about it, there are probably quite a few things that don’t need to be made the day of the party. Soups can be prepared days before and reheated, desserts can be baked ahead of time, sides could be prepared in their cooking vessels so they’re ready to throw in the oven…

Take a moment as part of your party planning to think through your menu to see what you can check off the list early. When the day of the party arrives, you’ll be glad you did!

Holiday cooking buffet

Let guests serve themselves

Buffet-style dinners are a blessing for large get-togethers. Instead of trying to give each plate your individual attention, consider setting up some crock pots or buffet trays so that everything stays warm but your guests can fill their plates themselves. As an added bonus, if anyone wants a second serving of something, they can be free to do so without feeling like they’re bothering someone.

Holiday cooking dessert

Plan a simple dessert

Everyone loves dessert, but many desserts are pretty simple. Whether you’re planning a cookie tray or a festive pie, there are many delicious options that don’t require a tremendous time commitment to prepare. As an added bonus, many desserts can even be made days in advance!

We hope these tips will help you enjoy the holiday just as much as your guests. We’re sure your party is going to be a lot of fun, so why not enjoy it yourself?

For additional party tips and preparation, check out these other great stories:

How to Clean Stains After the Party

“We’re Here for You” ®

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