Try Buffet Style for Your Holiday Party

#Holiday parties benefit from a buffet, The Shop Edit says. Not only does it allow guests to get up and move around, you can offer customizable, do-it-yourself dinner selections such as a baked potato bar, leaving meal assembly up to guests and their tastes. Once dinner is cleared, you can set up a selection of desserts and have guests repeat the process until they are sated. Drinks can be batched, too, to make them no-fuss and self-service. Add disposable dinnerware, and cleanup will practically take care of itself — but you should enlist friends and family in the effort so that you can participate in the holiday festivities. #LastMinuteHolidayTips

Clean Up Before Christmas

#Holiday entertaining should start with a #clean house. #Declutter and clean any areas of the house that need it or will see heavy duty in the days ahead, including bathroom, kitchen and floors. Then, keep the menu simple. “You don’t need every side dish or appetizer in the world,” Bread Booze Bacon says. “Choose options that pair well with the wine, cocktails or beverage you’re planning to serve and stick to the basics. If you want more options, ask your guests to bring a specific course. You can worry about cooking a little less, and nine times out of 10, they’re happy to bring something in lieu of a hostess gift.” #LastMinuteHolidayTips

Put Your Personal Stamp on a Holiday Party

The key to hosting a successful #holiday party is to plan it around the things you like, says Markets at Shrewsbury. Write down your menu and include some of your own favorites. If you’re short on time, there’s no shame in ordering some dishes or hiring house-cleaning help; you don’t want to be stuck doing chores when your guests arrive. Work backward from the date of the party to ensure you have everything you need when it kicks off. And don’t be afraid to ask for help! One of your friends or family members may have a signature recipe that’s always a hit; get them to bring it. Not everyone can be “Ina Garden or Joanna Gaines — and that’s OK!” #LastMinuteHolidayTips

Pick an Easy Plan for Your Holiday Party

The long #holiday weekend is just ahead! If you’re entertaining guests, make sure your plan suits your capabilities and time constraints. Goop suggests three versions of a relatively easy holiday party: the no-cook, wine-cheese-and-charcuterie option; an easy holiday brunch featuring bagels and toppings or baked frittatas; and a sit-down dinner that features simple, yet satisfying recipes. While the natural inclination may be to do an over-the-top feast that requires lots of kitchen time, these options will wow guests without #stressing you out, the story says: “Shortcuts maximize your ability to relax and enjoy your guests.” #LastMinuteHolidayTips

The Christmas Countdown Begins

At the time of this posting, there are just 27 days — less than a month — until #Christmas. If you celebrate #Kwanzaa, you get an extra day to prepare, but those celebrating #Hanukkah will need to be ready just nine days.

You may view the #holidays as the most wonderful time of the year, but with that wonder comes a lot of additional expectations and stress. You need to get gifts for the family, go to the office party, plan a big family feast, send cards, bake cookies — and time is running out!

Take a moment to collect yourself. “You can only do so much,” says The Mayo Clinic. “Be realistic with how much you can handle this season. Forget about perfection, and relax and enjoy the company surrounding you.”

Start with a plan. Get the calendar out and write down the most important events and deadlines. Assign days to complete specific tasks such as shopping, baking, cleaning and decorating, but be flexible — things can and will get delayed.

One set of important dates to remember is the shipping deadline for holiday gifts. For merchandise shipped via standard ground services with FedEx, the deadline is Dec. 15, and at UPS and USPS, it’s Dec. 16. Two-day shipping should get the goods to you in time if ordered by Dec. 20.

Keep up on healthy habits, too, so you don’t sacrifice yourself in service to the season. “If you already have a training or exercise routine, don’t let the holiday season throw you off,” says “Exercise and physical activity can help clear your mind.”

Set expectations that are manageable, and be clear about them with family members and guests. Don’t set yourself up to make a big sit-down feast if you don’t have the bandwidth, for example — you can have a potluck or something even more casual.

Say no when you need to do so, and take time for your own relax-and-recharge sessions, whatever form they may take. Whatever you can manage during the season should be good enough. The clock may be ticking, but it’s your holiday, too.

Have a safe, happy and stress-free season!