A lot of times around the holidays, we feel the pressure to entertain. Even in the music we hear, "They'll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting...", and as fun as throwing a party is, it is a lot to undertake. Yes, even for an event designer. I have found that these few perspectives give me a little more freedom to celebrate with friends and family over this most joyous season.
1. Think of ways to share the load. (if you're a LOTR fan, you'll envision Sam saying that in slow motion to Frodo for a second). Instead of having it be all up to you, ask a few friends to host an event with you. I love being able to collaborate with several people. It encourages more diversity, creativity, and plus...the workload is decreased tremendously!
2. Design your event to fit you. Your holiday event doesn't have to be a black tie affair with table settings and place cards for everyone (though i would gladly come and design that for you!) You want your event fit who you are. If you love playing games with your friends, ask everyone to bring a dish to share, and then get your game on. If you have a group with lots of kids, put on a Christmas movie and order pizza for the kids. Save the good stuff for you! ;)
3. Consider leaving the times open. I love events that are floating. You don't feel ashamed when you walk in 30 minutes late, or when you have to leave early. You can stay as long or as little as you like, without feeling like you're disappointing the host. I was at an event just yesterday where someone came in about 45 minutes after the event had begun. She was apologizing for being late, when the hostess said to her, "You're not late! This is an open house...that means you can come whenever!" The sigh of relief that came from the guest was golden.
4. Prepare in advance. One thing that I try to do with any event is to take time to get ready. I hate having too much to do in not enough time. For example, if I know I'm going to have a dessert, I'll make the dough for my cookies a couple days in advance. That way, on the day of, all I have to do is form the cookies and bake them. Or if I'm having friends over for dinner, I will set the table the day before. If I'm designing a larger event, I like to do as much the day before the event as possible. I try to do my preparation in steps, so that it's never crashing down on me all at once.
The important thing is to celebrate. Whether you sit down for an hour around a table, or not at all, what will be remembered is the time you shared laughing, maybe crying, playing, and enjoying being together. Maybe it's too late for this Christmas, but there's always New Years! And, really, it's never too late to celebrate being together.
Pictures credit to: http://www.team95.org/983-christmas-decorating-ideas.html/tree-christmas-decorating-ideas