Taming Holiday Host Burnout: 9 Strategies for a Celebratory Season

The holidays are approaching, and this year, you’re in the driver’s seat: that’s right, you’re the host! Whether you’re a seasoned host trying to avoid feeling frazzled, a first-timer feeling daunted by the task ahead, or somehow ended up saying “yes” to one too many events, hosting is a challenging and sometimes thankless job. Keep reading to learn strategies to prevent holiday burnout, take care of yourself, and more! 


1. Make a Plan and Be Prepared


Whether you’re planning one party or four, making a plan can help you stay organized and not forget any critical details.


When you make your plan, consider laying out all of the responsibilities you have, and approximately how long they’ll take. Cooking, decorating, picking people up from the airport – count it all.


For example, if you plan to cook multiple dishes, create a timeline for when to defrost and marinate meats, prep vegetables, or preheat the oven. Read your recipes thoroughly so you aren’t surprised by a “let rest for 1 hour” note that throws off the whole day. Leave yourself plenty of wiggle room if something goes wrong.


2. Get Started ASAP


Preparation can save you a lot of stress. If you’re able, take care of shopping before the holiday season really starts. Include this in your plan if needed!


If you know you’ll be baking dozens of cookies, for example, don’t wait to go grocery shopping the day before! Buy your shelf-stable ingredients like flour, baking powder, and sugar in the weeks leading up to your party. This will allow you to check things off your list long before crunch time.


Similarly, try to take care of non-party-related items beforehand. You don’t want to worry about the oil change light coming on in your car while sitting in traffic to pick your aunt up from the airport.


3. Delegate Responsibilities When You Host Holidays


Just because you’re the host doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself! Delegate different tasks to some of your trustworthy attendees. When you’re planning for a holiday gathering that revolves around a large meal (like most of them!), you can ask guests to bring dishes with them. If guests stay with you, you can ask them to help you prepare food, make DIY decorations, and run errands. 


You’re the host, and in most cases, it’s expected that others will help out. Sometimes, the simple act of asking a friend, sibling, or spouse to stop by the store on their way to dinner can alleviate a ton of stress for you.


4. Consider Keeping Your Events Lowkey


If you grew up in a large family, huge parties with piles of food and long, boisterous nights may feel like the norm. However, that doesn’t have to be the case! As a host, you have the power to control the vibe and the size of your event. If the idea of a massive blowout makes you, your dog, and your wallet shiver, consider keeping your party on the small side. A quiet evening with friends, a potluck meal, and a great playlist can be as fulfilling and less stressful as a massive gathering.


5. Practice Holiday Self-Care


Hosting can wear on even the most extroverted people, especially when it’s layered on top of general holiday season stress. It’s important to practice self-care and give yourself a break.


Learn how to enforce boundaries during the holidays.


Saying “no” can be the greatest form of self-care. If you know you can’t take on another hosting gig, politely decline. If your sister’s roommate wants to bring their argumentative significant other, firmly say no.


Take time for yourself.


The holiday season is hectic, but you must carve out time for yourself. Set aside thirty minutes every evening to read a book that you enjoy. Go for a run, take the time for a yoga class, or go for a walk and listen to your favorite podcast. Taking just a few minutes to be alone and recenter can help reduce frustration and burnout.


6. Know the Signs of Holiday Burnout


Don’t wait to care for yourself until you’re already burnt out; look for signs beforehand. Some symptoms you could be feeling burnt out include:


  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Becoming easily frustrated and angry
  • Feelings of resentment towards your family and friends
  • Loss of interest or joy
  • Physical exhaustion or illness 


If you realize that you’re getting burnt out, it’s essential to ask for help. Lean on friends and family to help take over responsibilities, no matter how small they seem. As we mentioned before, no one expects you to do everything yourself! One of the most beautiful parts of the holidays is a feeling of community, and what better way to embrace that than to collaborate on an event?


7. Use Flexible Furniture to Avoid Hosting Holiday Fatigue


If you have guests staying with you throughout the holidays, the furniture in your home that previously worked great for you and your family may suddenly be lacking. This is especially true if you’re trying to host in a small apartment. That’s where flexibility comes in.


Tables and chairs


A dining room table with expandable leaves can expand to accommodate your huge Friendsgiving, then shrink again once it’s just you and your partner. You can repurpose extra chairs in another room or put them in storage.


Sofas and sleeping arrangements


A sleeper sofa can add a whole new “bedroom” to your living room, then tuck away when not needed. There’s no need to give up your comfortable mattress and sleep on the floor when that surprise family member arrives unannounced. Simply make up the sleeper sofa!


Hidden storage


Ottomans with built-in storage can provide the perfect place to stash away clutter you don’t need during a party, from pet toys to unneeded pillows and throws.


Nesting tables


Nesting tables don’t have a large footprint but can be used when your table isn’t enough. Pull them out when your party spills into the living room or the board games come out in the evening!


8. Leave Perfectionism in the Past


You might have fond memories of seemingly perfect holidays at your grandmother’s house. The food was flawless, decorations twinkled in the background, and happy family chatter filled the air.


If you asked her, though, you might be surprised to learn just how much went wrong! The meal was served an hour later than she planned, the dessert you savored was missing an ingredient, someone broke her favorite ornament, and the adults whisper-argued half the night out of your earshot.


Even if you don’t have those kinds of memories, you may catch yourself comparing your planned holiday party to a friend or influencer on social media. Remember that any gathering of multiple people will involve some sort of difficulty, mishap, or low-key disaster. Take a deep breath, recognize it as part of the process, and keep moving. In all likelihood, you’ll be the only one who knows, or you’ll all be able to laugh about it next year.


9. Recognize Your Hard Work


At the end of it all, give yourself a pat on the back. Whether that looks like a spa day, an extra slice of pie after dinner, or taking pleasure in asking the younger cousins to wash the dishes, treat yourself to acknowledge how much you have achieved. Being a host isn’t easy, but you did it!


Celebrate you!


Whether you hosted the party of a lifetime or feel like you barely made it through the holiday season in one piece, take the time to appreciate what you’ve done. Consider gifting yourself something you wouldn’t normally splurge on (hello, gorgeous armchair you’ve been eyeing for your reading nook), or an experience you haven’t carved out the time for (spa day!). Hosting a fabulous party may not always come with glory and recognition, but you can always grant that for yourself.


CORT Outlet Makes Hosting a Breeze


Even the most experienced holiday host can get overwhelmed when they’ve got too much on their plate! That’s why proper planning, boundary setting, and taking time for yourself to relax are crucial for enjoying a busy holiday season.


But what if your holiday stress isn’t caused by poor planning or simply due to a lack of proper furniture? You may have a small apartment that doesn’t lend itself to individual pieces like a massive dining room table and your WFH setup. Or your old sofa gives your family the creeps, and they don’t want to sleep on it.


It’s time to stop letting lousy furniture hold you back. From flexible pieces like tables that can double as desks and comfortable sleeper sofas, CORT Furniture Outlet has the pieces you need to step up your hosting game. With many pieces available for same or next-day pickup, even a last-minute visitor can be fine without stressing you out. Plus, with prices up to 70% off retail, your holiday budget won’t be tapped. Shop online or visit your local CORT Furniture Outlet store today for flexible furniture needs.

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