Your Stress-Free Holiday Starts Here
Your Social Schedule
Entertain in simple style. Repeat after us: You don't have to go all out to have a good time. Pick up a tray of cookies and an assortment of cakes and pastries. Cut them into bite-size pieces and you've got an instant dessert buffet, suggests entertaining expert Wade Williams. For fun, buy an inexpensive game table from a discount store and challenge your friends to Ping-Pong or pool, says designer and entertaining expert Cynthia Rowley, coauthor of the Swell series of books. Bonus: You can use the table for games year-round. Playing counts as exercise!
Host an open house. If you can't limit your guest list to your BFF, host a casual, inexpensive open house instead of a formal gathering. Make some eggnog or punch, serve cheese and fruit, and invite people to drop by anytime between, say, 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Ask everyone to bring a dish, and you'll be guaranteed to have plenty of food all party long -- with minimal work for you.
Plan ahead. When you're invited to someone else's party, RSVP as soon as the invitation arrives. "Procrastination only causes more stress," says Meryl Starr, author of The Personal Organizing Workbook. Then think about what you want to wear, and write it down on the invite. "This helps you avoid that scene where you're stressed and your husband's calling you downstairs and your shoes are all wrong," she says. If the party's at a place you've never been to, MapQuest the directions and attach them to the invitation now, rather than risk getting lost later.
Make a quick escape. If you must attend an event you're dreading, Starr says to drop by for 30 minutes or so. "Say hello to everyone and then explain that you have to go to another party," she says. "It doesn't matter how long you were there, just that you showed up."
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