It’s December! “Where did the year go?”
Have you said that yet? I’m sure you have. You probably don’t even have time to read this article. I barely had time to write it! Well, it is a busy season for sure, but I agree with Andy Williams. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!
It’s the season when we add some cheer and color to the routines of our everyday lives. We decorate our homes, bake cookies, wrap gifts, and attend events! Music seems to fill the air at all times (Joy to the World and Away in a Manger are a few of my favorite songs of this season). Carolers grace our neighborhoods, and children’s choirs sing for proud parents and grandparents. We shop, order, wrap and mail! What did I leave out? Oh, yeah ... we eat! Boy, do we eat. We cook, clean up after eating, then store the leftovers (if there are any) to eat again later!
Maybe you prefer to order prepared foods from stores or restaurants for the events you host so that you can sit and enjoy the food without the stress and mess associated with hostess duties! Or maybe you are like me and love to cook, so feeding those I love from the work of my own hands is a special gift in and of itself. I take my time to plan the menu with pretty appetizers, a main course with healthy side options, holiday beverages, and of course, desserts!
Displaying healthy foods in a festive way is so much fun. It brings me great joy to find ways for people to eat more fruits and veggies, sometimes just by displaying them in a unique fashion. Here are a few that have provided great conversation around the benefits of adding 7-13 servings of vegetables and fruits each day!
However, food is not my only consideration when I open our home to our guests. As a hostess, I have done a great many things over the years to make the table cheerful, and I have designed some special activities to connect our invited guests to each other and to the season of celebration. I love to set a beautiful table and bring a personal touch to our time together by displaying our guests' names in decorative fashion. I may even include a discussion-starter question on the back.
I have often been known to place a little “something special” at their seat or as a welcome as they arrive.
- A gift with a message – A Mini-Rubik cubes with the message: “may you solve all that puzzles you in the coming year!” OR magnets that say “may your magnetic charm attract new and wonderful friends in the coming year!”
- Crafts for the young people – A snowman-making kit for the younger kids, and/or assorted fashion beads with cord and connectors for making key chains, bracelets or necklaces are great for the older kids.
- Music – Holiday tunes make the season come alive, and a fire in the fireplace bring ambiance to the festivities.
While we are focused on what our guests see, hear, touch, and taste, these are not the primary objective! If you feel your stress level rising and your patience wearing thin, you may be in need of a time-out, so step away from the kitchen, take a deep breath and remind yourself what this season is all about. If you lose your “peace on earth and good will towards men" mantra, you will not be all that fun to be around – before, during or after the event – which may make for a “memorable” time, but likely not your proudest moments.
So have fun! Stay calm! Smile and laugh a lot! Celebrate along the way. Don’t stress yourself out trying to deliver an award-winning performance or creating decorative displays worthy of the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. Your guests will not remember the centerpiece you spent hours on, but they will remember the welcome, peaceful home and the pleasure of time spent with you and others. A great Holiday host is one who is joyful, grateful, and loving the process, where the main objective is creating space for togetherness.
I award thee, Holiday Host With the Most or Holiday Hostess With the Most-est!
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– Stephanie Wolfe, NBC-HWC
Health Advisor | Email Stephanie