Keeping sanity over the holiday season


Mario Barassi

Follow these tips to keep your head together like a good gingerbread house.

Adriana Radosavljevic, Copy Editor

Holiday parties can be a huge hassle, but they don’t have to be. Make your seasonal celebration not only stress-free, but something to remember, by planning in advance!


Setting up is one of the most crucial steps of preparation. Establish a keynote for the party, such as Ugly Sweater, Alpine Ball, or Tropical. Send out invitations identifying the decided theme, along with a time, date, RSVP information, and a list of suggestions for what to bring. Stop doing all the work! Guests can bring side dishes and extra movies to supplement what you have already provided.


Decorations are what invitees will notice first. Create the perfect ambiance with a warm, well-lit glow — dimmer for evening hours — and a playlist of Christmas songs going. Design a layout that allows for a few focal points rather than spreading decorations out in many different places; simplicity is key. Sprinkle the room with clusters of pine cones and holly, create centerpieces of variously-sized candles, and hang strings of white lights along the edges of the ceiling.


Decide on food well in advance. As Foods teacher Candice Hancock said, “Planning is key.” Depending on how much time you wish to spend on the occasion, this can be time-consuming. For busy families, catering may be the way to go. On the other hand, a buffet can be a more affordable option. Dishes can be prepared in advance, and guests can help themselves. Hancock suggests crockpots and sternos to keep entrees and side dishes warm. She also recommends cleaning any dishes as they are used so that there isn’t an unmanageable pile later on.


As for desserts, Today’s Parent suggests that hosts “Warm up baked goods, such as cookies, pie and two-bite brownies in the oven for a few minutes for instant oomph.” And don’t forget the drinks! Plan for a hot chocolate or coffee bar paired with seasonal flavors such as cinnamon or pumpkin spice. If nothing else, this will get guests in the holiday spirit.


Keep your company entertained. Some fun activities may include a gingerbread-making contest, a cookie exchange, and Christmas carol karaoke or pictionary. For guests who may just want to put their feet up, have a Christmas movie marathon going on in the background.


Last but not least, enjoy the occasion! This holiday isn’t just for your invitees’ enjoyment, but yours as well.