8 Tips to Help You Host a Stress-Free Holiday Party

stress-free holiday party

It’s the most stressful time of the year?

From gift-giving and party-going to visiting with people you maybe see a handful of times a year, it’s no wonder why most people are seeking peace on Earth during the holidays. This is especially true if you’re planning on hosting a holiday party. Hosting can be taxing in itself, but add another layer with all the hall-decking and festivities, and it can become downright hectic.

This doesn’t have to be you. Host your holiday party without the stress with these 8 handy tips!

Make a List – Lists are lifesavers. Start making them now to help preserve your sanity and keep your holiday spirit intact! Nail down a timeline of all the tasks you need to complete and the food you need to purchase. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to your family members or friends to make it all come together!

Stock Up on Snacks – Everyone loves snacks, so be sure to have plenty on hand! We suggest loading your pantries with a variety of crackers, chips, and cookies. Nuts are also a great choice. Mix your favorites in a small bowl for everyone to enjoy! Keep it on the healthy side by serving up fresh fruits, veggies, and slices of cheese.

Start Cookin’ – Take it from us – do as much as you can right now to avoid extra stress! Stews and soups can be made ahead of time and feed several people. Quiches, tarts, and rolls can also be kept in the freezer until it’s party time.

Quench Their Thirst – Good hosts know to keep a wide range of drinks on hand for their guests to enjoy. Aside from keeping your fridge stocked with soda and mixers, try to have a variety of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate available. Don’t forget the sugar, creamer, and marshmallows!

Crank Up the Tunes – Create a playlist of your favorite holiday songs and play it throughout your home to keep everyone in a joyous spirit! Just remember to keep it at a low enough level that people can converse.

Keep It Cozy – Hosting a casual holiday party? Try a buffet! They’re efficient and offer guests a variety of foods to try and savor. If you can, situate the food on a table or surface that guests can access from all sides so no one has to wait in line for long. Oh, and don’t worry about a seating chart. Just let your guests sit wherever they like around the table!

Spruce Up the Guest Room – Even if no one is planning on staying the night, it’s always wise to make sure your spare room is straightened up just in case. You never know when the weather might turn nasty or if a friend needs a place for a quick nap. Besides, it’s always nice to offer a place to stay for any out-of-town visitors after the party!

Ready Some Disposable Containers – If you don’t want to keep the food you’ve made, there’s no need to toss it out. Purchase and wash a set of plastic food containers and divvy up your leftovers for your guests! They will appreciate the extra food in the busy days to come. Make sure that you send them home with containers you won’t want back to keep the stress low!

Have you always wanted to host holiday parties but don’t have the space for it? Worry not – The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties can help you find the perfect home for you! Call us today at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to get started or check out our listings at www.dianamasseyhomes.com.

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8 Smart Tips to Keep Holiday Decorating Safe

holiday decorating safety tips

No matter what you’re celebrating this holiday season, there’s just something special about putting up decorations. The trouble is that you don’t want to get so caught up in the merriment that you put your safety at risk. If you’ve ever seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, you know just how hazardous holiday decorating can be to your health!

Before you go decking the halls or adding a superfluous amount of lights to your roof, be sure to check out this handy list (and maybe check it twice) to keep you and your loved ones safe when you’re decorating:

Take Extra Precautions with Live Trees – There’s nothing like that fresh pine smell to put you in the holiday spirit. Even though live trees can make a fun, temporary addition to your home, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Place your tree away from heat sources. Live trees are incredibly flammable, so they should stay far away from heaters and fireplaces. Also, ensure that you water it frequently. A dried out tree can go up in flames much more quickly than a hydrated one, so be sure to check the water level daily.

Check the Label First – Want to just stick to a fake tree? There’s nothing wrong with that! Before you buy one, however, you’ll want to see if the tree is fire resistant. Nearly all trees are, but it’s always wise to check first before making the purchase!

Reach New Heights as a Team – If you’re itching to string up lights outside or hang garland or mistletoe just a little higher this year, don’t go it alone! Have a friend or family member help you. Make sure he or she is supporting the base of the ladder and that it’s on even ground. Also, be sure to keep your cellphone with you, just in case something happens that results you in being stranded on top of the roof with no ladder (or no one) to reach you.

Keep an Eye on Those Candles – The small burning flames can really help us feel cozy and at-home; however, they should be enjoyed under supervision. Keep your candles on a sturdy base so there’s little risk of tipping, and never leave it unattended. Don’t place candles on or near a Christmas tree or other flammable decorations, and remember to extinguish them before you leave home or head off to dream about sugarplum fairies.

Examine the Lights – Before you go through all the trouble of stringing up the lights, go through and check for any frayed wires, broken bulbs, and loose connections. There’s nothing more soul crushing than taking hours out of your day to hang up lights that wind up malfunctioning! Besides, it can be a fire hazard. If you come across any issues, throw the lights out and update them with newer ones.

Be Kind to Your Circuit Breakers – All of us have a breaking point, including our hardworking circuit breakers. Don’t overtax these unsung heroes of the holidays! Adding too many lights or electronic devices to them can pose a greater risk for fire and surges, which is a present that no one wants.

Try Unbreakable Ornaments – If you don’t want to recreate the Home Alone scene where Marv painfully walks through Kevin McCallister’s living room barefoot on breakable ornaments, you might want to avoid using fragile ornaments. If that’s out of the question or if you want to display a few older glass ornaments, make sure that they’re out of the reach of curious children and pets.

Shut It Down for the Night – As tempting as it is to leave your tree and outdoor lights on for all the neighbors to admire at night, it’s smart to turn off everything before you head to bed. This will help you avoid experiencing a short or an electrical issue, which helps decrease your chances of having a house fire.

If the perfect home is still at the top of your wish list, we can help make it a reality without asking old Kris Kringle for help! Just call your friends at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298. Get a head-start by viewing our listings at www.dianamasseyhomes.com.