A Fresh Perspective on Taking the Stress Out of Holiday Hosting

A Fresh Perspective on Taking the Stress Out of Holiday Hosting

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Let’s get real for a second: Pick up any women’s magazine or Google “holiday hosting tips” this time of year and you’ll find any number of checklists or “stress-free planning” tips purporting to help you prepare a Martha Stewart–caliber Thanksgiving dinner and stay cool as a cucumber before, during, and after the festivities. Hmm…seems sort of unrealistic, right?

That’s right! At Skinny Strong, our philosophy for elevating your life by simplifying and strengthening emphasizes how important it is not to put unrealistic demands on yourself. It’s not about underestimating your own cooking prowess or ability to multitask; it’s about recognizing the tendency to put undue pressure and stress on yourself for no good reason.

Maybe you are thinking, “But hosting my family and friends for my favorite holiday of the year is a good reason!” Absolutely, gathering family and friends to give thanks and enjoy one another’s company is an excellent tradition.

But here are underlying “reasons” we tend to overdo it during the holidays that you can put on the “Skinny” list this year:

  • I am as good a cook as ____ and I will use every trick in the book (or on Pinterest) to prove it.
  • So many guests are coming from out of town; I don’t want to burden them by asking them to bring something.
  • It’s not a true, home-cooked meal if anything comes out of a can, a bag or a box.
  • We need gluten-free/dairy-free/vegan versions of every dish on the table.
  • I want everyone to see how great the house looks after our remodel/renovation/redecorating—but it has to be absolutely spotless!
  • I never had time to finish converting the office to a guest room, but if I stay up late a few nights, it will be done by Thursday!
  • I have to work out every day this week to counteract all the calories I’ll ingest at dinner.

You get the idea, right? Here are alternative holiday-hosting techniques that strengthen our self-confidence, our relationships, and our enjoyment of the season without causing stress or fatigue. Consider these your “Strong” for the festivities:

  • Remember to focus on people, not things or decorations or food.
  • Plan in advance, in order of importance: create a menu, do light clean up, grocery shop, set the table, start cooking.
  • Ask everyone to bring a side dish, dessert, or beverage to dinner—travelers can pick up wine or a fresh-baked loaf of bread, and no one will blink twice if someone brings a premade tray of bakery cookies.
  • Limit the menu to one or two main proteins and enough of one or two side dishes and veggies—you don’t need to serve every dish from Joy of Cooking.
  • Offering one or two dishes for guests with food sensitivities is plenty. If their diet is extremely restrictive, ask them to bring their own favorite dessert.
  • Put yourself in your guests’ shoes: Everyone will appreciate a light vacuuming and dusting of surfaces; no one will expect the entire house to be freshly disinfected and scoured from floor to ceiling.
  • Keep a normal sleep and exercise schedule, so you can have enough energy to actually stay awake through dinner and catch up with all your loved ones.
  • Indulge in the elements of planning that bring you joy (perhaps, setting a welcoming table or preparing a delicious stuffing) and skip the ones that only cause stress (baking the perfect lemon meringue pie or making homemade mashed potatoes).


I’m so happy to welcome you to our community. I founded Skinny Strong to inspire and empower individuals to thrive in their health and beauty. Skinny Strong is inspired by my own health challenges, and the discoveries I’ve made along the way that have given me the freedom to let go of confusion and guilt, take action and start living!

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