(BPT) - You may love hosting your friends and family over the holidays, but the cleaning, food prep and post-party cleanup? Not so much. Gathering together with your loved ones to enjoy the cheer and fun of the season is great, but don't you wish there were ways to make it easier and less stressful to put on a festive celebration? Luckily, there are. You can have a blast hosting family and friends — and even enjoy the prep and cleanup — by following a few easy principles.
Here are ideas for keeping your next holiday party merry and bright from start to finish.
1. Create the kind of party you'd want to attend
There's no need to make this year's party identical to those you've held in the past or that your family has always had. Start by asking yourself what makes a party a success. Love getting dressed up and sitting down at a fancy table for a formal dinner? If so, that's the kind of holiday party you should host.
If not, think about what you've enjoyed at memorable celebrations from your past. What made it a hit? Was it a low-key, dress-as-you-are party with cheerful music, kids’ crafts and informal games? Was the food simple but still tasty and comforting? Maybe there were party favors and gifts that were low-cost but silly and fun.
Make a quick list of the high points from different shindigs you've attended and see if you can include some of them in your party plan. The preparation will go much smoother and will be a whole lot more enjoyable when you're entertaining in a way that you love.
2. Keep it simple — and delicious
You can reduce the stress and time it takes to prepare tasty food and handle post-party cleanup by getting some help from Bob Evans® dinner sides, like their beloved mashed potatoes and macaroni & cheese. Their high-quality, farm-fresh, quick to table sides provide a delicious way to “hack” holiday spreads with ready-to-heat refrigerated options that act as stand-alone dishes or as a convenient ingredient to level up any recipe. Bob Evans does all the washing, peeling, seasoning and cooking so you don't have to.
Hosting family over the holidays? Make breakfast time easy and special by stocking up on Bob Evans breakfast products, including their signature sausage, bacon and liquid egg whites.
Find Bob Evans dinner sides and breakfast products at grocery stores nationwide and visit BobEvansGrocery.com to discover holiday-inspired recipe ideas.
3. Make it a family affair
Get the whole family involved in party preparations by assigning tasks to kids that are appropriate according to their age level, such as making and putting up decorations, helping to create the perfect holiday playlist or decorating cookies.
If you have friends who feel just like family, see if they're willing to come early to help with the setup — and make sure to get them an extra-special holiday goody bag to thank them!
4. Designate specific party rooms
Since it may not be possible to make every room in your home 100% clean for the party, make sure the central rooms are in good shape, then mark some rooms "off limits" for partygoers, using festive garlands or funny signs, asking people not to enter.
If your front closet has no room for extra coats and bags, designate a guest room or office as a coat room so guests will know where to put their things when they arrive.
5. Add festive decorations
Create an immersive holiday atmosphere by decorating your entertaining space. Cover the room in festive décor, such as a decorated fireplace mantel, a special wall decked out in holiday lights, children’s artwork or a doorway framed in holiday greenery. The goal is to create a cheerful ambiance that delights your guests at every turn.
Hosting during the holidays doesn't have to be stressful or overwhelming. Use these tips to help you relax and enjoy the cheer and fun of the season.