Overwhelm and stress are often uninvited guests in my home. But there are people coming soon to my house, and on more than one occasion this year. I’d like to make sure these two don’t get an invitation.

How to Cut Down on Overwhelm When Hosting


I did this at Thanksgiving last year to help with hosting duties. I also incorporated some of these principles.

I’ll be hosting Christmas again, this year. Not alone, mind you. The Pilot will be here, mostly. And our guests, family and otherwise, always lend a hand. But as someone who struggles with anxiety and lives in a far-less-than-perfect home, I’ve learned to take deliberate steps. Above all, I gotta pray and find peace and contentment before the Lord about all that gives me worry and stress. After that, and because of that, I do the other things.

For One-Day Gatherings


Plan the menu based on dishes you can cook ahead and freeze. {Advice from Brittney Lee}

Outsource the main dish. I don’t cook turkey, never plan to. I cooked a ham. Once. At Thanksgiving, I let the local BBQ do what they do best: cook and roast meat. I did what I do best: pick it up and drive it home in my car. I bet you have plenty of options for ordering not just a turkey, but all kinds of other yummy main-dish meals.

Plan to set out simple appetizers and snacks. You know, so guests can munch and graze. Super simple appetizers include: cut veggies (with or without a dip), sausage balls, mixed nuts with a little dark chocolate thrown in, popcorn.
Christmas appetizers


Plan the party for a day when you’ll have time the day before to prep. Superb advice. {Thank you, Keisha}.

Set boundaries. You know your family and what kinds of times for coming and going work for you and yours.

Keep three lists on hand while planning and during the party: A Before Party list, a Day Of list, and an After Party list. When someone asks what they can do to help, refer to the list. {Another great tip from Keisha, and one I plan on putting into practice.}

Take a break. Spend 10 to 15 minutes in your bedroom, reading a book or just sitting a minute. This of course helps if you have a spouse or family member helping you host. Let ’em know you’ll be back in a few. If you can, take a hot drink with you and take in a few deep breaths.

take a break when hosting holiday parties

Walk away from drama. You know, whatever kind of drama you need to walk away from.

If possible, don’t try to do it all. Ask guests to bring dishes to share. Let others in your household take on some dish-washing.

But don’t be afraid to kick people out of the kitchen. Sometimes, there really are too many cooks.

Get outside. Sunshine, fresh air, a brisk walk: these can healing and refreshing.

taking a walk on Christmas break

Encourage guests to help themselves. Have plenty of foods and drinks for them to enjoy.

Sit few minutes before guests arrive. Maybe have some wine or spiced tea or just a big glass of water: whatever refreshes and relaxes you. {Sarah} I’ve heard this advice before and seen it in action when helping with an event. Hard for me to do, but also quite good for setting a tone of non-anxiety throughout the day.


For Overnight Guests


Ditto with the setting out of food, especially if you have guests arriving late. {Thanks to Sarah again for this tip}

Again, boundaries as needed on dates of coming and going.

Make them feel at home. We’re so blessed and humbled to be able to stay with good friends when we travel back to my childhood home. We feel comfortable and welcomed in their house, which is saying a lot since we come with three noisy boys.


What are your plans/tips for keeping away the overwhelm?