First Time Hosting Christmas?

Here are tips for planning the day:

If you are hosting the family for Christmas for the first time, you might not realize that it is a bit like conducting an orchestra. For a harmonious result, you have to understand all the moving parts. It takes some planning.

  • Early on, everyone will ask what little Johnny wants for Christmas. Make sure you know and make sure you give everyone different ideas. If you tell each person that Johnny wants that one Lego set, then Johnny is going to get the same Lego set more than once. That doesn’t just disappoint Johnny, it wastes your guests’ time and diminishes the gift-giving experience.
  • About three days before, clean out your refrigerator to make room for holiday food and beverages. Arrange drinks a day or two before so the drinks will be cold and you don’t have to worry about it. The more the guests can serve themselves, the happier you will be.
  • A day or so before the event, plan the guest seating and snacks. Everyone has to have a seat, so arrange the seats. Plan a designated area for coats, convenient places to offer drinks, and position some side tables to hold snacks.
  • Carefully prepare your meal plan, including a timeline. If you are making turkey, for example, you will have to buy it about four days ahead of time to let it thaw if it is frozen. Plan your meal and shop early. If it is your first Christmas dinner, consider not making those homemade rolls and maybe ask someone else to bring them. You’ll have plenty to do already.
  • Even if you are not cooking a dinner, you still need food. If people are coming from out of town or even across town, they will need something to eat, even if it is just sandwiches. Stores and restaurants are often closed for Christmas.
  • Count and organize the gifts. Make sure every kid has the same number of gifts. One thing you don’t want is for one child not to have a gift to open when the others do. All kids need at least one toy, even teenagers. Make sure the adult guests all have gifts. All the gifts don’t have to be expensive. Socks or a muffler will do. Adults don’t really need the same number of gifts as the kids. But each adult should have about the same number of gifts.
  • Have a plan for gift opening. If you’re expecting out-of-town guests who went to some time and expense to attend, think hard about making an organized plan so gifts are opened one at a time. That way, all your guests will be able to enjoy seeing their gifts opened and appreciated.