Friday, December 8, 2017

Hosting for a CALM CHRISTMAS

Today I am wrapping up this series I've been writing, on creating a Calm Christmas for yourself and those you love and as I said a the top of my previous post, my deepest wish is that all of us, myself included, can streamline our holidays just a touch in various ways, and out of that intentionality, open-handedly offer something different to our loved ones. The world offers chaos and pressure to do, buy, get, make, be and attain.  We can offer calm.  We can offer quiet and peace.  We can offer a heart, a home and yourself in a way that sooths and beckons a gentle welcome out of the fray. We can be used to bless and we can do it without feeling the pressure of "one more thing" on the listI have a few simple ideas for hosting to share today, and all are inexpensive and under-done in a world where over-done is the norm.

I'm going to make an opinionated claim here, based on things I've observed, hosting events for the past twenty years.  Ready for it?  I believe that hosting is most stressful the more choices are offered.  Let me explain by using just one example with beverages, though this extends to much of hosting stress.  Let's say your guest arrive and you ask them, "Can I get you something to drink?"  They likely respond by asking what you have, and you may begin listing off seven or eight choices.  Calm stealer right there and here's why.  Give someone more than three choices and then multiply that by each person you're hosting and whatchout... you're in the kitchen mixing and pouring and missing out for the next fifteen minutes or more.  You need to streamline that thing down and make life easy on yourself.  I like to have water, an obvious choice out, in an available self-serve sitting, and offer two choices besides, tops.  I like to do this even if the choices are out for self service.  It's like developing a signature style.  You invite friends, and serve one or two signature cocktails based on the season.  Perhaps you have a signature cookie you tend to bake each holiday and that becomes a no-brainer item that people can anticipate enjoying at your home.  Or you have a signature dinner you tend to serve each time you have guest because it's no fail, which means no stress.  Amen to that. Giving your own self fewer choices, often diminishes your own stress when hosting!  KISS- keep it simple, sweetheart.

This season I am offering two signature drinks which is also more cost effective than stocking an entire bar for the masses and their beverage whims.  I think part of hosting stress can be the feeling like you're not in control of the setting, but it calms right down when you regain control by taking it back and making it work for you in all of the ways you can control.  (Obviously, there are a tremendous amount of moments you aren't able to wrap up tightly like you'd prefer and you can refer back to the beginning of this Calm Christmas series where we talked specifically about that.) (If you're wondering what my two signature drinks are, one is champagne because it's fun to offer, goes with virtually everything and most people enjoy a festive glass.  The other is a shot of spiced rum in a stevia sweetened cream soda for no carbs. It's been a big hit to everyone who has tried it.)

I'm also sharing these very sweet drink stirrers that I created in moments, by simply hot gluing tiny bottle brush trees to the tops of trimmed skewers.  They make the perfect, festive topper to a party beverage.

I am offering two signature cookies throughout this month, and that's pretty much all I'm planning to bake. (Monster cookies and gingerbread cookies- which I'll be sharing the recipe for soon.  Both gluten free.)  They are no-fail, favorite recipes and I enjoy making them each year.  I'll freeze some and have them on hand all month long.  That's an instant calm as well.  Having things on hand.  Thinking ahead just a little, to stock a pantry with nibbles for a cheese tray and a cookie platter helps make the season calm.

This is a new hosting tip for calm, but it's come to me after having a large number of introverts in my life and finally figuring out what helps them deal with the large gatherings.  Creating a simple, yet separate conversation space to offer for anyone who wants to escape during gatherings is really calming and I've noticed, appreciated.  Sometimes even I need to escape for a moment! Adrain and I recently rearranged our office and pulled in the wonderful chairs we had on the front porch.  They needed a fresh coat of paint and some fabric recovered so we did that and were able to create this lovely little nook in the front of our home.  It's been used for many escapes so far!

There are obvious tips I've shared many times, such as thoughtfully stocking tables, drawers or cupboards with the items you'll use for that season or event but again, keeping choices limited is so helpful... think about extending this idea to choosing your table linens, glassware or that sort of thing.  Fewer choices can simplify life and can greatly add to a calm Christmas when it comes to hosting. I've so enjoyed sharing this series with you and pray it helps you in creating the calm Christmas we all desire. 

May we all remember the Reason for this Season and let that calm wash over us.  
Here's to a C A L M    C H R I S T M A S! 


  1. I like the KISS meaning, working to control areas you can, and quiet getaway spaces.

  2. This is my favorite post of this series !!
    Looking forward to a stress free Christmas

  3. Thank you for this series, Sasha! It has been a huge blessing for me in this crazy season.

  4. Love and appreciate these posts! SO helpful and inspiring. Thank you!

  5. You are an absolute genius! I loved this so much! Too many choices sure give me anxiety! I am also an introvert, and your thoughtfulness to think of having a calm spot for guests who may need a quiet area for awhile, just shows what a caring person you are! There are many gatherings I have been to, where that would have been very much appreciated!