Tips For Stress-Free Hosting


December 15, 2021

our home
follow @the.handwrittenhome
Sharing design tips and current projects to easy DIYs and favorites finds while mixing in family approved gluten free recipes.
I'm so glad you're here.
I hope you feel inspired!
I'm Kristel

Let's design a home that tells A story.

The hustle and bustle has begun…

Holiday parties have begun and after last year, everyone is ready for a chance to make spirits bright again.

Every December we host our company holiday party and this year I’m planning on an ol’ fashioned Christmas, but what makes a party one that everyone will remember?

Here are a few simple things I focus on to ensure a successful party…


To save us time and distraction while guests are in our home, Mike creates a playlist that we can set on repeat while the party takes place.

Feel free to blast our festive playlist while you rock around the Christmas tree this holiday season.


Your decor can set the tone for the party so choosing a color palette or a theme is helpful.

This year I was reminiscing past Christmas’s and felt that an ol’ fashioned Christmas would be the perfect fit.

A good mix of cedar, Norfolk pine, and boxwood was the perfect backdrop for dried orange garland and pinecones tied up nicely with copper velvet ribbon. While antique brass bells hinted at St. Nick and classic Christmas movies.

Keeping consistent with a color palette throughout the rooms of your home creates consistency as guests flow from room to room. It also sets a cohesive backdrop for photographers and videographers.

No. 3 FOOD

There’s nothing worse than spending days in the kitchen leading up to a party preparing all the food.

As the host, we prepare the meat which for large parties can be a task in itself. The other dishes are brought by our guests, but they aren’t chosen willy nilly.

Weeks before, when invitations are handed out, a google document is created. Categories are listed, such appetizers, side dishes, or dessert, and there are a limited number of slots per category. This ensures that you won’t end up with a lovely ham and a table full of grocery store cookies.

Setting up a google document allows all attendees to see what is already being prepared since the document updates automatically and you won’t end up with double of any dish. As the hostess, I can see what dishes have not been filled and if need be, I can make the missing sides.

Sharing the meal making and keeping the food list organized has relieved a lot of stress leading up the party and saves the host time preparing for guests.

No. 4 FUN

Have you ever been to a holiday party where everyone stands against the wall? Or worse, you play the White Elephant gift exchange yet again?

Most holiday parties request a white elephant gift, something small and under twenty dollars, but the exchange tends to be less desired.

A few years back we made the switch to our Annual Ornament Exchange.

So why an ornament?

I wanted something that would be practical and not hidden in a closet until the next holiday season. Ornaments are relatively inexpensive and most guests can take their’s home that evening and hang it upon their tree.

Remember when I suggested choosing a theme? This becomes helpful for the Ornament Exchange. Each year we choose a theme for the ornament which organizes the gift-giving and creates a bit of fun when picking your ornament out at the store.

This year our ornament criteria were “White Christmas” which went perfectly with our ol’ fashioned Christmas theme. In other years we’ve done “silver and gold” as well as “Santa’s helpers” and many others.

When it comes to exchanging gifts, we put a bit of a spin on the whole “drawing a number” routine.

Instead, we’ve bounced between two different styles: the “Adjectives Draw” and the “Left Right Game”.

The Adjectives Draw is similar to the original White Elephant game, but instead of choosing a number and selecting your gift from the pile, you draw an adjective card from the bowl while holding the gift you brought. For example, if I drew the adjective card “the one with blue eyes” then I would swap gifts with someone in the room that had blue eyes. There’s no stealing in this version and the game keeps going until everyone has pulled a card from the bowl and swapped gifts. You can download your set of adjectives below. As you can see some of the adjectives can become comical when choosing who might be the oldest in the room or the most festive dresser! Once everyone has had a chance to swap, everyone opens their gift at the same time.

The Left-Right Game is played by reading the story below. Each guest begins with their gift in hand, as you read through the story every time the narrator says “left” guests pass their gift to the left, and every time the narrator says “right” the guests pass their gifts to the right. Reading through the story, you can see there will be times that gifts will be going both ways so soon that chaos is sure to happen! This has become our favorite tradition by far!

Not only do we have a gift exchange, but we also provide some kind of entertainment. In years past, a close friend would lead us in a dinner theater mystery. Our guests all had parts and were given the storyline prior to the party. This is a great addition to any party if your guest list is on the smaller side.

This year instead of a mystery dinner, we played Christmas Jeopardy. The trivia game is designed to test guests knowledge of all things Christmas from traditions to classic movies to popular toys! If you have any with a competitive streak, this game is sure to be a hit!

You can download your copy of the Christmas Jeopardy below.

Click on the image above to download your copy of Christmas Trivia Jeopardy.

These simple tips for a successful party can be applied to any gathering small or large this holiday season.

I hope you have the merriest of holidays. Until next time, you can follow along with me on Instagram for daily stories and inspiration!


Save on Pinterest

Comments +

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sharing achievable designs and styling affordable finds that create a home that feels welcoming and beckons you to stay.

let's work together