Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Dinner

With the holidays approaching, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of entertaining guests with a celebratory dinner.  Here are some tips for getting through those upcoming holiday dinners with your sanity intact:

  1. Enlist Help – Holiday dinners unfold more smoothly when there are lots of helping hands on deck. Don’t wait until the big day to delegate tasks to others; if you could use help with getting things in order beforehand, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends and relatives.
  2. Have a Plan – A few weeks before the event, prepare a list of the dishes that you will prepare and serve. Use this list to come up with a master shopping list of everything that you will need. Familiarize yourself with the recipes that you’ll be using so you know how to maximize the time that you have when the day comes.
  3. Stick with Tried-and-True Dishes – Holiday dinners are not the time for experimentation, so plan the meal around some of your family’s long-time favorites. Keep guests from getting bored by throwing in a few new twists on things.
  4. Clean and Organize the Fridge and Pantry – Do a thorough cleaning and inventory of your fridge and pantry before the day arrives. This will help to keep things moving along smoothly on the actual day, and it ensures that there’s plenty of space for everyone’s favorite: leftovers!
  5. Cook What You Can Beforehand – A day or two before the dinner, prepare things like casseroles that can be kept refrigerated until they are ready to go into the oven. Early on the day of, chop and otherwise prepare all of the ingredients that you will be using so you can spring right into action.
  6. Do a Load of Dishes Before Guests Arrive – You are certain to generate a lot of dirty dishes while getting things ready, so plan on running the dishwasher before guests arrive on the actual day. That way, you can empty and reload it when dinner is over and have less work to do.
  7. Keep Guests Out of the Kitchen – Although they mean well, guests really only get in the way when they wander into the kitchen while a holiday dinner is being prepared. Minimize the risk of foot traffic there by setting up an appetizer table elsewhere in the house. Consider keeping drinks in coolers in a different room or even out on the porch or deck too.

By keeping these tips in mind, your upcoming holiday dinner is sure to go off without a hitch—and you’ll be far more likely to enjoy yourself too, which is a bonus. If you need a larger home to accommodate more guests, there are tons of options right now in Austin real estate, so be sure to take a look.

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