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Posted: 12:25 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012
WAYS TO LOWER STRESS FOR PARTY PLANNING
For the host:
In the weeks leading up to your party, plan the details and menu.
Hosts should be ready at least one hour before guests arrive. Of course, we all end up rushing around at the last minute, but if you try to hit that goal, you will come close, and then you’ll have time to relax. Put on relaxing music, have a glass of bubbly and admire all that is done.
Write a schedule on a notepad, for example: 7 p.m. check roast; 7:30 start potatoes. Having the timing down is more than half the battle. The biggest source of stress is being unprepared and overwhelmed. Don’t let that happen to you.
It is better to have an elegant, simple meal that you and everyone enjoy, than the beef Wellington that has left you uptight and sapped of energy. Try a fondue made with low-fat milk and reduced-fat cheese served with healthy dippers, such as broccoli, carrots, apples and whole-grain bread cubes. Or a colorful fruit platter. You’ll feel great about serving your guests a delicious appetizer chock full of nutrition without the stress of too many calories.
Ask for help: Who wants to be stuck in the kitchen all night during their own party?
Asking for help can relieve stress and makes guests feel a part of the event. Ask guests to bring dessert or beverages, and don’t be afraid to invite them into the kitchen to help rather than leave them standing around while you are trying to finish details.
Decorate with Mother Nature: Often, hosts and hostesses are baffled on how to decorate. To remedy this, bring the outdoors in. Try filling hurricane candleholders with acorns from your backyard or let your food speak for itself.
For the guest:
We can all get a little bit uptight when going to a party or formal dinner. Guests can control their stress by being prepared and going with the flow. Ask your host if there is anything you can do. Bring an appropriate gift (does not have to be expensive) such as a bottle of wine, flowers (in a vase ready to set on the table), or a book on something of interest to the host; know how to make small talk; don’t arrive more than a few minutes late; don’t be the last one to leave; and don’t overindulge in food and drink.
Sources: Kathy Bertone, author of “The Art of the Visit: Being the Perfect Host; Becoming the Perfect Guest,” and Lanier Dabruzzi, a nutrition affairs manager for the Southeast Dairy Association
KEEPING YOUR COOL
Here are some more tips for minimizing stress during the busy holiday season from Kathleen Hall, founder and CEO of the Stress Institute in Atlanta: