An uncluttered holiday gathering

If I were hosting a holiday meal this year, it would probably involve lots of steamed and pureed vegetables, baby cereal, and maybe — if my guests were lucky — a few bottles of wine. Thankfully for the people in my life, my new-parent brain is not responsible for hosting any holiday gatherings.

Before sleep deprivation, when I would throw a dinner party of any kind, I kept three principles in mind:

  1. The gathering is about creating joyful memories with guests.
  2. Going overboard typically makes people uncomfortable.
  3. Simplicity=sanity

Regarding the first principle, good conversations are often all it takes to create joyful memories with guests. If you’re in a kitchen, removed from your guests while you cook and work the party, you’re not creating memories with anything other than your oven. Plan and prepare your meals ahead of time, have a bakery or restaurant fix the most time-intensive items, or invite people over for only one part of the meal (like appetizers or dessert).

The second principle is true in most situations. If you are stressed out and things are “too perfect,” usually your guests pick up on the tension and never feel welcome in your space. Invite people fully into your home, let them see that you’re human and that you care more about them being comfortable than recreating an idyllic scene from a movie or magazine.

The third and final principle is also true in most aspects of life. You can’t drive yourself to the point of exhaustion when you keep things simple. Only having a few, important tasks on your to-do list will keep stress levels low and your priorities (the first principle) in check.

Good luck, and I hope your holiday gatherings are a success!

6 Comments for “An uncluttered holiday gathering”

  1. Avatar of

    posted by Claycat on

    Happy, Happy Holidays, Erin! How nice that you have a new baby in your home for Christmas! I wish you all the best in the new year!

    With warm regard, Mary

  2. Avatar of

    posted by Lori Paximadis on

    Amen, amen, and amen, sister!

  3. posted by Vicki K on

    Merry Christmas Erin. What a great reminder as I head into the next three days of guests and food prep and celebrations. Thanks!

  4. posted by Kathy @ Parent Talk Today on

    Erin, I couldn’t agree more!

    Have a wonderful holiday with your newly expanded family. We brought our son home from the hospital on Christmas Day 1995 (he was born on Dec. 22) and it’s a day we will never forget.

    I received Unclutter Your Life In One Week and I look forward to reviewing it in Parent Talk Today in early January and also mentioning it in my article on organizing for my regional parenting editors. So glad we met on Twitter.

    Happy New Year!

  5. posted by steve crane on

    Really good post-happy Christmas

  6. posted by Karyn on

    Given the weather in the Minneapolis area–snow, snow, and more snow, with sleet and freezing rain also possibly thrown into the mix–I most likely will be enjoying a quiet, solitary Christmas at home. That’s actually a rather pleasant prospect, after working in the grocery store the whole week before Christmas! ;-) I’m enjoying a lovely day so far listening to holiday music on YouTube videos and catching up on some of my discussion boards.

    Happy Holidays to all of you, and a Holly Jolly Christmas!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGyGNxHtvRk

    Burl Ives = Awesome.

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