Holiday dinner parties are fun to host, but without careful planning they can be stressful! How to host the smoothest holiday dinner party is easy when you have a schedule!

So how do you ensure that your next dinner party goes off without a hitch? Here are a few simple tips and tricks that will make every meal a hit:

How to Host the Smoothest Holiday Dinner Party

How to Host the Smoothest Holiday Dinner Party |

Make a shopping list.

Make a list and check it twice. There are great organizational apps (I like to think of them as my virtual assistant) that can help you prioritize. Decide which ingredients you can purchase ahead of time and which foods are best left for purchasing in the days before your event. From stocking up your pantry and creating menu ideas to managing RSVP lists, storing these items in one place can help you organize and strike off those to-dos!  Plus, the feeling of accomplishment you get when you check an item off your list is always a bonus (whether it’s on paper or on your phone!)

Prep ahead.

Some foods can even be made ahead of time. For example, a lasagna or casserole can be prepared and put in the refrigerator a day or two before baking. Dessert can also be prepared before the dinner party. Any recipes that require you to add ingredients at the very end should be made within minutes of serving.

Ask about allergies.

It’s never fun to hear about someone’s allergy just as you’re pulling out the food from the oven!  Most of the time if a guest has a serious allergy they’ll let you know about it, but it’s always nice to ask ahead of time.

Set the table early.

Get the fancy silverware and dishes ready the day before your dinner party. Holiday feasts and festive parties mean bringing out your best silverware and serving dishes. 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!

Delegate tasks.

If you’re having a huge guest list, don’t be shy to ask family and friends to contribute to the meal by bringing desserts, drinks, or side dishes. Once guests arrive and ask how they can help, put them to work! They can fill water glasses, serve alcohol drinks, or help stir the gravy for you.

Have gifts on hand.

For that unexpected guest who drops by, not-so-holiday-specific items like stationary, pens and notebooks are a nice last-minute gifting idea that anyone will appreciate. Taking a non-holiday themed approach means items can be purchased well in advance of the holiday shopping rush.

Clean as you go.

It might seem like a pain in the moment, but it’s usually a good idea to wash pots and pans as you finish using them. That way, you won’t have a scary pile of dirty dishes at the end of the night! Having a trusted stain fighter on-hand to tackle those holiday 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.

Set the mood.

Make an impressive holiday music playlist to set the mood, or save yourself some time and find a Christmas or Dinner Party playlist on Spotify.

Pat yourself on the back.

After your guests have gone home, treat yourself to that festive latte, Santa-shaped cookie, or extra hour in bed. You deserve it for all your hard work, and it may be just what you need to keep your spirits up and stay energized for your next dinner party!

How to Host the Smoothest Holiday Dinner Party

What are your tips for easing dinner party prep and clean-up stress? I’d love to hear them!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by #ChurchandDwight. As always, the opinions expressed herein are my own! 


Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of, a leading lifestyle blog for women.


  1. Lynda Cook Reply

    The best tip is to have as much possible prepped and done before the party and don’t stress!!

  2. Darlene Schuller Reply

    Excellent tips here… it can get pretty chaotic when a person is trying to put together a holiday get together!

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