5 Host and Hostess Shopping Tips for the Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us, and that means parties and gatherings of family and friends galore, including some hosting of your own. It’s possible that you may even have something planned for every single weekend.

Rather than going straight to Pinterest and the stores for ideas on how to stay organized throughout the upcoming madness, let us help you get things started in the right direction with these 5 need-to-know tips for hosting this, and every, holiday season.

1. Make a Budget

But it’s just your family coming over for Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve dinner; how could you possibly spend that much? Trust us when we say you’d be surprised how easy it is to go over the top with miscellaneous tapas and a cheese plate that could make any cheese lover cry.

Add the stress of seeing your third cousin you had a tiff with on Facebook last week, or the person who’s plus one you’re less than thrilled to see and, well, you may want to go overboard to impress them.

Though a lavishly clad holiday party is nice to see on Pinterest, it’s a good way to spend unnecessary money, especially when you’ve got a whole season of parties ahead of you. Plan for the future party-thrower in you and make a smart budget.

2. Theme Out

When it comes to food selection, try to stick with a general theme. This doesn’t mean you have to have Italian fair if there’s cheese, olives and wine available. Just that the elements which do exist in the food and wine aspect should be cohesive with one another and counter each other nicely.

This will also help you when grocery shopping, too! Instead of wandering through the store with party-brain (the eat-whatever-you-want effect) and leaving with an eclectic blend of food even too weird for a teenager, you’ll go in with confidence, and leave with yum.

3. Over-prepare (with Caution)

Of all the things you have to do the day before and of your party, going to the grocery store shouldn’t be one of them. But in your preparation for success and complete avoidance of the store, make sure not to overdo quantities too much. Ask for a headcount ahead of time and make two servings extra should any plus-ones make a surprise appearance.

Yes, it’s better to be safe than with hangry guests, but it’s never fun having to fill your fridge and freezer full of excessive leftovers due to that preparation of yours.

4. Utilize the Internet

A lot of shopping can be done online, and it should be. Why?

Because you can probably snag some holiday decor and serving plates at killer prices without the crowding, long lines, and potential of having to settle for something that isn’t in unison with that theme you so responsibly picked earlier.

5. Bulk Up

The simple and elegant table setting ideas @missmustardseed shares for fall are perfect for the season! #falldecor #tablescape

A photo posted by MillBridge, Waxhaw NC (@millbridgenc) on

When it comes to hosting friends and family over the holidays, the thought of bulking up on useful items like fancy salts and select oils probably slips your mind. However, this could save you a trip to the store (and your sanity) two birds, one stone-style. If you’re hosting a party and are doing all of the cooking, you’ll probably need some of that salt or oil for something, right? And given that it’s the holiday season and you’ll be attending at least one other party than your own, you’ll need a host and/or hostess gift.

Bulk items, such as Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt (that red salt you’ve seen at Whole Foods), or a specialty olive oil and vinegar pairing, can serve as gifts for other parties or gatherings you may attend. Just pick out a jar or container of your liking, fill it up, add a bow and voila! You’ve got the perfect gift, and you didn’t even have to go back out into the scary world that is holiday shopping. Sometimes it truly is the little things in life.

Read More: 13 Homemade Holiday Gifts You Can Start Right Now