It can be hard to be an adult at times—you know, like doing laundry regularly, paying your bills, and hosting people at your home. And when it’s the holiday season, hosting family becomes super common, especially if loved ones are staying with you during the holiday festivities or you’re even planning the big meal. (And cooking it? Yikes!)
Yet, while it can be stressful, it can also be super joyful, as long as you keep stress down and keep your spirits up. Savor the moments and focus on the positives, like being with friends and family, sharing in a new experience, and “adulting,” as a young adult or even as a newlywed—hey, you’ve got a partner there, too! That helps!
Accept that you’re new to hosting family and may not do everything “perfectly,” especially compared to your older family members that have been perfecting the process for years and even decades. It’s OK. Really!
“This will help you avoid a lot of the stress that comes with having family over,” says David Bennett, relationship counselor with Double Trust Dating.
Make it fun and very “you”
“Give it your own flare,” advises Bennett. “While sticking to tradition can be meaningful, so can putting your own style on a family event.” In fact, meeting in the middle (a little tradition and a little bit of your own style) is probably the best way to make both you and your guests happy.
So, if your mom loves sharing her famous casserole at Christmas dinner or your uncle likes to play a game of trivia, honor those traditions but then add in your own bit of fun too, like a movie night or drinking game if your family is on the rowdier side.
Ask for help
It’s okay to ask for a bit of assistance in meal planning or shopping when hosting family.
“Family gatherings can be stressful if you take on all the tasks yourself. Instead, be willing to ask for some help and then delegate,” Bennett says. “Let your family bring some dishes and let your partner (or siblings) do some of the legwork instead of micromanaging everything.” This will not only make people feel involved, but it’ll also lessen your stress.
Offer different food options
Do your best to accommodate people with dietary restrictions, so at least everyone can get something that they can eat and feel comfortable with.
“In 2019, a lot of people have a lot of different philosophies about eating. You have vegetarians, vegans, carnivores, gluten-free dieters, and people who proudly adhere to all kinds of other diets,” Bennett reminds us.
Whether hosting family or friends, it’s a nice gesture to figure out where people are and do your best to accommodate their needs, even if it involves asking them to bring a dish so “everyone” can enjoy it (even if it really will just be them).
Care about yourself, too
As a host or hostess, it’s easy to become wrapped up in the needs of everyone else, and you get super stressed in the process!
Yet Bennett’s advice is to “remember that if you are stressed, everyone else will feel that too. So, make sure to give yourself a break, and even if you need to step away for a few minutes to take a few deep breaths, it’s okay.” Then come back refreshed and ready to party it up!