Episode 11: 5 Easy Steps for Surviving (and Enjoying) Holiday Hosting with Allison Carter


I hear ALL the time: “having a party during the holidays is way too stressful because I run out of a time and am scrambling at the last minute.” Today I’m giving you my 5 tips to surviving and enjoying entertaining this holiday season.

Listen below or head on over to iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…Holiday Entertaining Season!

Oh boy, entertaining at the holidays. This causes a lot of stress for a lot of people, and honestly I get it. Entertaining during the holidays feels like a very grown up thing to do…and I easily forget that I’m a grown up so some of that stress can easily creep up on me too!

I think the things I hear from my party tribe the most are that the holidays are such a busy time that the party often gets forgotten and then they’re scrambling at the last minute. I totally get that, and I’m actually feeling a little like that with my parties this year too! I’ve got a lot of balls in the air and when you invite guests to your home, it’s another ball and more time needed to allot to keeping that baby in the air!

The second stressor I hear the most is that they are worried about how their house looks. This one is so crazy to me because everyone’s house looks amazing at the holidays! Seriously, think of a time where you love your house the most- where it feels cozy and personal…it’s at the holidays! The holidays are the PERFECT time to entertain at your home because you basically have to do zero in the decor department…because it’s most likely done- so let’s squash that stressor right here and now!

The first one, I understand, and I’m pretty sure every single person has felt like their holiday party pops out of nowhere and they have zero time to prep, so today’s show is going to really address those parts of hosting that may be causing you some stress, and give you some tips and strategies to overcome them!

Biggest Piece of Advice for Hosting at the Holidays

My first and most important piece of advice for holiday hosting is that this is NOT the time to be the hero…this is the time that you are bringing your loved ones together to create those memories and live out your family traditions- that is number one. So let go of the perfect table settings and the personalized favors and the twisted thinking that you need to make a huge feast. Have you let it go? Washed away? Good let’s get into my tips for stress-free holiday hosting then!

5 Steps to Surviving and Enjoying Hosting Your Holiday Parties!

I got into great detail and give tons of tips about each of these in the episode, but here’s the gist!

1. Have a clear plan

Write down every single thing you need to do for your party. Who’s coming, what are you serving, where will they sit, what will they do, etc. Literally everything, big or small, goes on this list. It will look overwhelming and don’t worry, you won’t do all of these things, but write it down so you have everything in one place and then can start checking things off and deciding where to focus.

2. Delegate

You can’t do it all, and to be honest, you shouldn’t. It’s just not fair. Use your guests. Guess what? They want to help. Chances are they’ve asked you what they can do and you brushed them off. Go back and tell them exactly what you need. The more specific, the easier it is for them! Shift your mindset to think about how delegating actually makes your guests live’s easier and it becomes a heck of a lot easier to ask!

3. Repurpose

Shop your house! Remember…your house looks BEAUTIFUL right now! Use it to your advantage. Walk around your whole house and grab anything and everything that may work for your party. Practice setting a table, create a little centerpiece, etc. Then once you’ve seen it all together, you can narrow your shopping list down to essentials you need.  This helps a TON when you are going to the store and you want to get something that’s cute that you “want.” You know how when you go to the grocery store without a meal plan list and you buy all the things? Same goes with party planning. Stick to the list after you shop your house. This is how I save HUNDREDS with each party I host!

Ask yourself two questions before you buy also. “Do I love this?” and “Will I use this in my home after the party?” If the answer is yes, yay! If the answer is no, wah wah…bye cute item that belongs to someone else.

4. Don’t do it all

My party rule? I provide 3 things…and only 1 is homemade. That means if I’m hosting, I will cook or serve 3 different things. The rest will be delegated. When I said specific, I mean it. I don’t tell guests just salad, I’ll tell them green salad with a vinaigrette. They bring what I need, and they have some freedom in what that looks like for them within those guidelines. Dessert vs. chocolate dessert is another great example for this.

The serve 3, make 1 rule is how I stay out of the kitchen for parties. The bar is a great place for this don’t do it all situation. Always go self serve. Guests can serve and nix themselves, and you don’t need to play bartender all night. Try this this year, it’s life changing.

5. Focus on your why

What is the reason for your holiday party?  Why are you entertaining this year?

You are doing it to get your loved ones together, to celebrate the beautiful season, and to have fun. That needs to be at the front of your mind, always.

You are creating memories for your guests.  You are giving them a cherished experience. The decorations are beautiful, people will rave about them, and I know those compliments feel so good.  The food and drinks are delicious, and your tables will look spectacular. But what your guests will remember are the laughs, the inside jokes, the time spent together. For some reason, when I focus on this aspect of entertaining, it really takes the stress out of it. It centers me and makes me remember why I am hosting in the first place.

So this year, take a breath, have a plan, delegate, repurpose your decor, keep it simple, and focus on the fun.  Your party will be a smashing success, you will feel relaxed and fulfilled, and everyone will go home just a bit merrier than they were before they came.


My Holiday Family Traditions Guide is ready and waiting for you! It is filled with every little moment, tradition, experience, and activity I do, did in my own childhood, or plan to do during the holiday season with my kids. I outline these all start to finish, encouraging you and setting your mind as ease when it comes to creating a magical season. This is a guide you’ll look back on year after year as you continue to create lifelong holiday memories and traditions with your loved ones. 

Grab your guides here!

Please SUBSCRIBE to the show, SHARE with your friends, and leave a REVIEW! This helps get the show in front of even more mamas, and allows me to get awesome guests who are going to blow your mind!

Head on over to my free Facebook group, Memories in Moments Insiders! There you’ll find additional resources to support each episode, more information on guests and how you can connect with them, visual and video tutorials, and best of all, connection as we navigate parenting and making memories together!


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These 5 time (and life!) saving tips will save your sanity when it comes to planning your next party! 

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