7 Hosting Tips for the First-Time Holiday Host

There’s a first time for everything, and this year it’s your turn: you’re hosting for the holidays! Whether you’re hosting guests overnight or throwing a dinner party for local friends and family, keep reading for 7 hosting tips that can help your guests — and you! — have a happy holiday. 

Hosting Tips: How to Prep Your Home for a Holiday Party

1. Prioritize comfort.

Here’s the thing: the fanciest holiday table setting and the sparkliest lights can’t compensate for lack of comfort when you have house guests. Before you dive into the nitty-gritty of how to throw a fancy Christmas party or start gathering trendy food and drink recipes for your New Year’s gig, think about function. 

Take stock of your space a few weeks before guests arrive for Christmas parties or other holiday festivities. Do you have enough lounge and dining seating for everyone on the guest list? What about accent tables, end tables, and coffee tables to set a drink down throughout your entertaining spaces? Don’t be afraid to add a few more accent chairs or side tables to make the most of your home. 

Take a note from interior designers and use items like poufs for seating, or add an ottoman that can double as a coffee table. CORT Furniture Outlet can help you find the extra furniture you need — without dipping into your holiday gift budget. 

2. Keep your décor simple.

Sure, it’s nice to have a few seasonal accents and decorative items around your home for a holiday gathering. But don’t forget: even simple things can have a significant impact. Cozy lighting sets the mood as much as elaborate holiday decor, and holiday or Christmas songs playing in the background can be just as meaningful as an immaculately decorated dining room table. Remember that quality time together is your true priority for a holiday party, and there’s no need to create extra stress for yourself with over-the-top decorations. 

3. Make your overnight spaces comfortable and inviting. 

If you have a dedicated guest room in your home, at minimum, it should have a bed and a small nightstand or side table. Make guests feel at home with cozy linens and throw blankets, and clear out some closet space where your visitors can hang clothes or stash a suitcase during their stay. You don’t have to go all-out and completely redecorate a guest room. Still,  you should ensure your guests have essential items within reach — clean towels, extra pillows, a power strip for charging multiple devices, and bottled water or snacks. 

Don’t have a dedicated room for a house guest? That’s okay, too. Use a sectional, pull-out couch, or daybed to give guests a sleeping space. Be sure to offer a corner of your bedroom or another room where guests can stash their stuff and have a private place to go if they need a break from the party. After all, they probably won’t ask other guests to vacate the living room, their sleeping quarters, in the middle of dessert so they can have a moment to themselves.

Food and Drink: Be a Proactive Holiday Host

4. Leave plenty of time for food planning and shopping. 

Doing anything last minute during the holiday season can be stressful, but shopping is definitely at the top of that list. Shop for food and drink items at least three days before your guests’ arrival, or even sooner if possible. Purchase non-perishable items that will keep well a few weeks in advance. To ensure you won’t run out of specialty or high-demand items, consider buying more than you think you’ll need if stores run low as your Christmas dinner or other holiday party approaches. 

5. Test any new recipes you plan to use. 

You already know you’re making grandma’s famous chocolate cake for dessert, but you want to make all new side dishes this year. Great idea, but test new recipes a few weeks in advance! The last thing you need is to discover that you don’t like the combination of cheeses in that casserole. You know your guests well, so be sure your recipes are ones they’ll like, too. Don’t forget to include some kid-friendly foods if needed!

Hosting Family for a Holiday Gathering: How to Keep Your Stress Levels In Check

6. Don’t be afraid to delegate! 

Chances are good that you’re more comfortable asking your family for help than you might be with friends. Use this to your advantage as you prep for the holidays! Ask your siblings to bring side dishes, or put your aunts and uncles to work in the kitchen to keep dirty dishes under control. Make the holiday a team effort. 

7. Remember to enjoy yourself. 

Hosting a party doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time, too. Do the best you can when prepping your home for holiday guests, and let go of the rest. In the end, no one will remember if you used the wrong wine glasses for white wine. Your guests probably won’t hold you to any snafus that are bound to occur, and they certainly won’t think you’re a terrible holiday host if something goes wrong! Let yourself relax and be present in the company of those you love. 

Party Hosting Essentials: Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays the Easy Way

Need to quickly put together a guest bedroom? Are you wondering where you can find a dining set in a flash? Need a sofa or accent chairs that can accommodate a larger crew? Turn to your local CORT Furniture Outlet. Shop our selection of new and gently used quality furniture and decor and take home your items as soon as today. Best of all, you can save up to 70% off original retail prices. 


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