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How to Have a Hassle-Free Holiday

How to Have a Hassle-Free Holiday

(ARA)- Entertaining friends and family during the holidays is a lot of work. Aside from the planning that goes into a festive event, post-party cleanup can be a full-time job. If you feel the holiday tension, you aren't alone: nearly half of Americans report experiencing stress during the holidays, according to a Gallup survey.
Help keep your holiday hassle-free with these timesaving party preparation and clean up tips.
* Enlist family elves: Enlisting kids to help with household chores such as laundry and dusting enables Mom to tackle other tasks and gets the whole family involved. Make a family chore list for December and assign elves different chores.
* Houseguest homecomings: Resist the temptation to wait on out-of-town guests hand and foot. As the host, you need to relax and enjoy the spirit of the season and the cheer that comes with houseguests. When your houseguests offer to help with meals, graciously say "yes" and allow them to prepare their favorite side dish or dessert. Take them up on offers to help set the table or clean dishes. This offers extra time to catch up with your guests while you're all in the kitchen and dining area contributing to a great celebration.
* Highlight your home's best assets: Instead of tirelessly trying to make every room of your home spotless, concentrate on the areas where guests will spend the most time.
* Focus on the bathroom: your guests will likely visit this room before they head home. Pay attention to little details like refilling soap dishes and having fresh hand towels.
* Have a solid plan: When creating a guest list, consider your options ahead of time. Buffet-style meals are easier for larger groups, while you can better host a sit-down dinner with six or fewer guests. The holiday feast is not a time to try out an all-new recipe. The key to being a less stressed hostess is building your menu around foods you are comfortable making.
* Find out ahead of time if your guests have any dietary restrictions so you can plan accordingly.
* Cook ahead: Make dishes in advance of the big celebration to cut down on the time spent in the kitchen when your guests arrive. Many hors d'oeuvres, desserts and side dishes can be made and frozen until ready to serve.
* Plan to spend one night each week in December preparing holiday dishes and avoid the overwhelming experience of trying to cook and entertain at the same time.
* Control mishaps: A good host handles disasters with grace. Do not fear the dreaded gravy stains on the white linens or the cranberry sauce spilled on grandma's white blouse. Call the Dr. Laundry toll-free hotline at (877) STAIN-411 or visit for quick and simple solutions to your holiday stain woes. Dr. Laundry offers quick and easy tips on stain removal that take the worry out of holiday mishaps.

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