Katie ready for the holiday hosting!

Five Tips for Holiday Hosting

December 13, 2022

Holidays are stressful enough when you’re going somewhere. If you’re hosting… that stress level often gets out of control! Here are my five quick and easy tips for holiday hosting!

Let me just start off by saying that…

  1. Your home doesn’t need to be perfectly decorated, or look like a winter wonderland.
  2. Your food doesn’t need to be Pinterest-worthy.
  3. Your kids don’t have to be on their best behavior.

Holiday hosting is all about creating an environment where people feel at home. You can do this.

Katie - all ready for holiday hosting this season!

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Five Tips for Holiday Hosting

When you’re holiday hosting, don’t forget to engage each of the five senses. If you’ve been out of 2nd grade for a while, here’s a quick recap: Hearing, Taste, Sight, Scent, Touch. Let’s dive in!

I feel like sight and taste are the most obvious, so I’m going to save those for last, and start with the ones that often get overlooked.

Holiday Hosting Tip #1:
Set the Mood with Music

Image of fireplace with mantle set up for the holidays with a magnolia garland, green plaid stockings, and twinkle lights in the firebox.
A basket sits beside the fireplace with a pillow and blanket inside.

Text overlay says "Flo's Tunes, Christmas Jams".

Sense: Hearing

Music creates the mood and vibe of any occasion. It also is great to cover any awkward silence as the party is just starting. If you have a record player… this is its moment to shine. But this doesn’t need to be fancy – if you don’t have a sound system (most of us don’t), use your google/alexa, or a small Bluetooth speaker, and find a playlist that fits the occasion!

I use Spotify for my music, but there are pre-created playlists on all music streaming services! If the gathering is really casual, see if my holiday playlist works. If you aren’t feeling that vibe, I love all of the playlists that Andi Ahedo creates (check them out here). Another option: if you are looking for something curated exclusively for your event, you can hire Andi to make you a personalized playlist!

The one warning I have about music: make sure it’s not too loud! Nothing is more awkward than having to scream at someone while you’re trying to carry on a lovely conversation about the weather. If your party is rocking, feel free to turn down the music!

Holiday Hosting Tip #2:
Provide Yummy Smells

Katie and Teddy checking out a new candle scent before holiday hosting.

Sense: Scent

If you’re cooking, you probably don’t have to worry about adding smell… if you use a candle or some other scent producer, make sure that it’s not something that will clash with the smells you’re creating in the kitchen. I do like a candle in the bathroom and living room, but if you have young children around, this is a very popular alternative.

The most important thing to do before hosting is actually to REMOVE scents. Have you ever gone on vacation or been away from your home for a few days, only to return to weird smells? And you think to yourself “do I always smell like this?” We live in our homes daily and may not recognize when our house is getting a tad smelly. No worries though! This is the perfect time to freshen up your space!

If the weather is nice, open the windows and turn your A/C fan on for a few hours – especially in the winter, houses start to smell stale! You can also consider a good air purifier. I don’t have this one, but I have friends that swear by it.

Holiday Hosting Tip #3:
Provide Cozy Textures

Holiday Hosting Tip - Textures

Sense: Touch

Touch is probably most important if you’re hosting people overnight. You want lots of warm, textured blankets, smooth sheets, and soft pillows. Unless you don’t want to host next year – in that case, just throw something scratchy on the beds and cross your fingers.

You can make sure that your living room is cozy too – everyone is comfortable at different temperatures, so having throw blankets around is great. Remember – texture is something that we both see and feel, so it’s a double bang for your buck.

Check out my guest bedroom or living room sources page for more ideas here!

Holiday Hosting Tip #4:
Tidy Up Your Ish

Holiday Hosting Tip #4: Katie cleaning up.

Sense: Sight

Cleaning up. This one is what we probably spend the most time on. We also stress about it the most. Yes, get your house tidy! But don’t obsess over it. We’re all masters at grabbing things and shoving them into a “Monica closet”. That’s totally fine.

Worst-case scenario, just breathe and accept your home the way it is. We don’t live in magazine-ready homes, and no one should expect that. Cheers!

The only three non-negotiables are vacuuming floors, cleaning bathrooms, and making sure there’s a seat for everyone’s bum.

Holiday Hosting Tip #5:
Serve Delicious Munchies

Image of wine bottle, glass of red wine, and charcuterie board.

Sense: Taste

I’m no party snob. Got chips? Ordered a pizza? Have easy drinks? I’m a happy girl.

If you’re providing a 5-course dinner? Great! Having themed charcuterie and perfectly delicious finger foods? Perfect. Hosting a potluck? Awesome! It honestly doesn’t matter what is served as long as there’s enough for everyone.

Do what is fun for you.

If you’re into cooking, do that! If you want to order takeout, do that! Food doesn’t have to be stressful. I guarantee that you’re going to want to spend time enjoying your guests – so if you cook, try to have the majority done before they arrive!

Holiday Hosting Honorable Mentions:

Image of neutral bathroom with white walls, and taupe beadboard and trim.

This may not need to be said, but I’m going to say it. Make sure you have extra rolls of toilet paper in an obvious place in your bathroom so that guests don’t have to ask for it. I like a basket in the corner, or even just a few rolls stacked on the tank!

Next, be a good human and put a plunger in the bathroom. They don’t have to be an eyesore (this one is cute), but I’ve heard so many horror stories about parties going awry in this department – let’s eliminate the embarrassment before it happens.

If you’re hosting the actual “gift opening” part of Christmas, I suggest grabbing this cool tool! It opens secure plastic packaging as well as breaks down cardboard SO EASILY. So worth it – you’ll appreciate this for years.

If the holidays are especially stressful, get on top of it with a therapy session (or two) beforehand, and read this book.

The End

Have the very best time hosting this holiday season! Remember: We have gatherings during this time to spend time with the people we love – try not to let the stress of hosting ruin the fun for YOU!

Happy Holidays!

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