As we head into the new year, many people are planning to celebrate with family and friends. Those celebrations could be of the formal kind, with a fancy menu planned, matching dinner plates and soup bowls and perhaps even the use of linen napkins and tablecloths. Or you could be like my family and just hang out with each other, have a special dinner, but something low key and easy to clean up after. Or maybe you order take-out food, eat in front of the TV and watch a much anticipated movie with your kiddos. The main thing these different celebrations have in common is that you are together with special friends and loved ones, which is really the point of it all.
As much as I enjoy having family over to celebrate a special event, whether it is a New Year’s Eve gathering or a birthday, I find that I get super stressed out before that event happens. Like stressed to the point of wanting to cancel and not have the party at all. Crazy, right? Especially when our family members are spread out across the province and we don’t get to see them that often you would think I would look forward to opportunities to plan a get together. So to help alleviate this stressed out pre-party feeling, over the years my hubby and I have come up with some things we do to help make the preparation for the celebrations a bit more fun.
1) Make Like Santa and Check That List Twice
I am a list maker. I make a list for pretty much everything, whether it is grocery shopping, party planning or just what chores and errands I need to get done in the coming week. So it comes naturally to make a list when planning for a family event. I like to use good old fashioned pen and paper, but there are some fantastic organizational apps that are designed to help you make your celebration a success with little effort. So create a list of what you need, who is coming and who is not. Use an app to send out invites so the app can keep track of your RSVP list for you. Make sure to refer to your list often and cross off what you have accomplished to keep yourself on track.
2) Delegate The Prep Work
Whether you are planning a family birthday party or having your work friends over for book club, you want your home to shine. Get the kiddos to pitch in with the chores by having them dust, pick up the clutter, scrub the bathroom and vacuum. Make a game of it by setting up some challenges and offer a small reward at the end so your children feel they are getting something out of it as well.
3) Get Your Fancy Dishes and Silverware Party Ready
Once in awhile it is nice to use the good stuff when you have a celebration. And I am not just referring to the bottle of booze you save for special occasions, oh no. I mean bringing out your best silverware and serving dishes to serve your guests on. To refresh your silver, try Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. Just rub a paste of three-parts Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and one-part water onto the silver with a clean cloth or sponge. Then rinse thoroughly and your dinnerware will be sparkling-ready to impress your guests!
4) Keep Messes to a Minimum
Having a trusted stain fighter on-hand to tackle those accidental spills and stains is a must! My go-to products are the OxiClean MaxForce Foam Laundry Pre-Treater and MaxForce Spray Laundry Pre-Treater. Both can treat wine stains, gravy spills and stains from sticky fingers to keep linens and napkins table-ready for next season. The Pre-treaters can stand for up to a week before washing. My mother-in-law swears by this and she has been using the same tablecloth on her dining table for years. You would never believe that six grandchildren have consumed food on this cloth year after year!
5) Relax and Enjoy Your Hard Work
The best thing you can do is to enjoy the fruits of your labour. That means not stressing if your cake didn’t turn out perfectly or if the dog ran in the living room and got mud on the carpet right after your guests arrived. Life happens and these are the memories you will laugh about for years to come. My family and I still get a giggle from the time I made or rather tried to make, some lovely squares and cookies for everyone. Somehow I managed to make the beater overheat and knock our blinds off the window, causing flour to go everywhere! Even our black cat was covered in it!
What are your tips for easy party prep and clean-up stress? I’d love to hear them!
**Disclosure: I am a 2017 Church and Dwight Ambassador and have been compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.