The days leading up to the holidays tend to be among the busiest of the year, with lots of celebrations taking place over a few short weeks. If you are hosting a holiday celebration of your own, you are not alone. Many spend time and money on entertaining in December which can quickly get expensive and stressful. That said, it’s important not to let your party planning overwhelm you.

Preparing for a holiday bash does not have to be a nightmare if you can enlist help for some of the busywork and outsource some of the key elements. Consider the following ideas for bringing friends and family together this year without having to micromanage either your budget or the logistical details.

Enlist a crew of friends and family members to help with the pre-cleaning, prep, cooking, bartending and final clean-up. Many hands make light work, and working toward a common goal can be a fun part of the gathering itself (remind your volunteers of that fact).

Instead of investing in your own serving ware and glassware, simply head to your nearest party rental store and check off all your needed supplies. The result will be far more elegant than opting for disposable paper products, and you need not worry about how and where you will store all those pieces afterward. Best of all, they will just pick them up, saving you on all that cleaning.

Worried that your limited furniture collection will not allow guests to fully relax? Instead of buying something new, think about renting some of the fun, comfortable and design-forward seating groups now available for rental. Today’s options go way beyond traditional folding chairs to encompass cocktail tables, rugs, lighting elements, bars and fully configurable sectionals and lounges, many of which can be used inside or out. If you’ve got the money to spend, such items can really transform a garden.

To take your party theme a step further, consider the fun of renting or creating a full-sized backdrop that sets the stage while providing a prime selfie opportunity for your guests. Alternatively, hire a party booth that provides accessories and will give you printed copies as well as digital versions of all the fun photos taken throughout the night.

Hire a local caterer for your refreshments, or just contract for an attention-grabbing main course. Keep it simple with a traditional meal or opt for a local specialty. Getting a party catered could be the best thing you’ve ever done and believe it or not, it could be cheaper than cooking yourself. Most tend to over-buy for a party, resulting in big bills and presenting the difficulty of too many leftovers to store. Once you give your caterer the number of attendees, their experience will know how much stock to buy.

Simplify the entertainment and/or dance music by creating a party playlist on your smartphone ahead of time, then hooking it up to your own speakers. With the internet easily at hand, you can even just use YouTube, which has lounge mixes and the like available.

Finally, do not discount the idea of holding your party at a restaurant or rented event venue. That saves you from time-consuming preparations and cleanup, shifts the liability elsewhere and lets guests come and go at their discretion.

With some few tips and tricks up your sleeve, you can host a holiday event that you will actually enjoy yourself. Isn’t that the greatest gift of all?

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