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Are you planning on hosting friends and family in your home for the holidays? Are you stressed about the idea of hosting? If so, you are not alone.

According to a recent survey of 2,000 US adults conducted by Article and OnePoll, three out of four Americans feel the stress and pressure that comes with hosting guests during the holidays. 

Although most hosts express their enjoyment of having guests over, many still face stressors during the process. Those stressors can sometimes outweigh the reward of hosting.

Here are 14 things people find most stressful about hosting during the holidays, with tips on how to navigate these situations best.

Making Sure Everyone Has A Blast

happy friends celebrating
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We all want our guests to have a jolly good time. But sometimes, the pressure to be the ultimate entertainment guru can be overwhelming.

Remember, the key is to create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Plan fun activities or games everyone can enjoy, or set the mood with festive decorations and tunes.

The most important thing is to foster a sense of togetherness and make your guests feel right at home.

Deciding What Food to Serve

A young woman standing indoors in kitchen, unpacking groceries from shopping bag.
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Choosing the perfect holiday menu can feel like a culinary riddle, especially considering different dietary preferences. Advice: Take a deep breath and keep it simple. Opt for crowd-pleasing dishes that are easy to prepare and serve.

And here’s a thought: why not turn it into a potluck affair? Encourage your guests to bring a dish to share, and you’ll have a delicious variety that takes the pressure off you and adds a delightful element of surprise.

Cleaning Before Guests Arrive

cleaning mirror with gloves
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Ah, the last-minute cleaning frenzy. We’ve all been there. But here’s a secret: start early! Break your cleaning tasks into manageable chunks and spread them out over a few days.

Enlist the help of family members or close friends to make the process more enjoyable and efficient. Remember, your guests are coming to spend time with you, not to inspect your baseboards with a magnifying glass.

Having Enough Room for Everyone

man pouring drinks around dinner table
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Not having enough space can make hosting feel overwhelming. It’s best to get creative with your furniture arrangement. And if you’re tight on space, consider renting extra chairs or folding tables. Alternatively, encourage mingling by setting up different conversation and activity zones throughout your home. Embrace the coziness, and your guests will too.

Having Activities to Keep Guests Entertained

black man with daughter having fun
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Entertaining your guests and ensuring everyone is having a good time is an art form. But here’s how you can navigate this part of hosting: Prepare activities or games that appeal to different age groups and interests.

Spread some holiday cheer with a cozy corner filled with books, puzzles, or board games where guests can unwind and engage in lively conversations. Remember, it’s all about creating memorable moments and fostering connections.

Deciding What Drinks to Serve

pouring champagne
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Deciding what drinks to serve your guests can be overwhelming. Here’s some advice: Keep it simple. Set up a self-serve bar area with a mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. Include a few signature holiday-themed drinks or a hot chocolate station for that extra festive touch. And don’t forget to have plenty of water available to keep everyone hydrated and merry.

Making Sure No One Damages Anything

People enjoying wine and drinks around dinner table
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Accidents happen, and hosts often worry about their guests damaging things during the holidays. Hosts can minimize the risk by temporarily relocating fragile or valuable items from areas accessible to guests and removing delicate decorations.

Seating Arrangement 

old man sitting around dinner table
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Seating arrangements can be difficult, especially when you have a big crowd. Hosts can get creative and optimize their seating options to reduce stress. Mix and match chairs, sofas, and floor cushions to create cozy and inviting spaces. And if needed, bring in some extra temporary seating like stools or benches. Your guests will appreciate it.


decorating a christmas tree
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Decorations can add that magical touch but also be a stress source. Keep it simple and cohesive. Focus on key areas like the entryway, dining table, and living room. Use versatile decorations that seamlessly blend with your existing space.

Managing Dietary Restrictions

food dish in dinner table
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With a diverse group of guests, it’s important to consider dietary restrictions and allergies. Ask your guests in advance if they have any dietary concerns, and plan your menu accordingly.

Offer options that accommodate different nutritional needs, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or nut-free dishes. Clearly label any allergens in the food to ensure everyone can enjoy the meal without worry.

Dealing with Last Minute Cancellations or Additions

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Plans often change, and hosts worry when they encounter last-minute cancellations or unexpected additions to their guest list.

For hosts, it is important to remain flexible and have a backup plan for adjusting seating, food quantities, and activities.

Handling Family Dynamics

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Family gatherings can sometimes bring out complex dynamics and tensions. As a host, it’s essential to create a pleasant environment.

Be mindful of seating arrangements to minimize potential conflicts. Encourage positive interactions and diffuse tense situations with humor or divert attention to enjoyable activities. Consider planning some icebreaker games or conversation starters to foster positive engagement.

Taking Care Oneself

woman being consoled by husband
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Amidst all the hosting responsibilities, hosts often neglect to prioritize self-care. Hosting can be physically and emotionally demanding, so carve out some time for yourself.

Take breaks, delegate tasks to others, and ask for help when necessary. Remember to enjoy the festivities and spend quality time with your loved ones.

Not Feeling Prepared

wine bottle and grapes on table
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Despite thorough preparation, hosts often feel inadequately ready to host. However, it’s important to acknowledge that you’ve done your best, and guests will likely appreciate the overall effort. Allow yourself some grace.

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

Deborah Agor
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Deborah Agor is a seasoned freelance writer known for her captivating storytelling and informative articles. With a diverse background in journalism, Deborah's versatile writing style covers a wide range of topics, from technology to health and wellness. Her dedication to delivering engaging content has seen her work with numerous top brands. When she's not writing, Deborah enjoys exploring nature and discovering hidden gems in her community.

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