Solution? Have a little pre-Xmas Xmas gathering! (Or pre-Holiday-You-Recognize, sorry! I celebrate Xmas, but I know people celebrate the other ones.) If you have agreeable people, you could even make it a "traditional" Festivus party! ;D
How we did it:
- 2 weeks before, I texted the people who we wouldn't for-sure see on the actual holidays we celebrate to see if they'd be free either day of the weekend we wanted to try and arrange for gathering. Found out who was in, and who was out. Asked everyone to bring something to share, but we'd also provide basic beverages and foodstuffs as well, and agreed that this would be when we exchanged prezzies.
- Day before, wrapped all the gifts of people who were coming and pre-made any food that could be pre-made so it wouldn't drive me nuts the next day. Seriously, when I'm hosting, it's all about what can be made with as little attention paid to it the day of - crockpot, pre-made, or takes-5-minutes-to-make is how I do. As for decorating, well, the apartment's already decorated for the holidays so all I did was add a little decor for the table (pictured above). That was just carefully layering ornaments in my cylinder vases - man, for only paying a $1, I freakin' LOVE those things, man. So many uses!
- Day of: Give the house a good once-over (we've been keeping it tidy regularly, so all we really needed to do was wipe down surfaces, dishes and garbage, and vacuum), and dolled myself up in the easiest way possible. Seriously, I have my own primping rules for being a presentable hostess while not stressing myself out (noticing a theme here? I totally overthink so much crap, I have to force compromises on myself so I enjoy the hosting instead of over-stressing it): slightly glammed-up basic face by adding a darker brown eyeshadow in the corner of the crease and slightly heavier mascara, the nicest hairstyle I can do that takes 10 minutes TOPS to style, and one of my go-to "hostess outfits" - nice elastic-waist black pants and one of several nice jersey tops, or a sweater dress over leggings. I always end up looking nice and feeling good without freaking out.
We also dressed Daisy, but she wasn't into it. At least we left out the beard this year!
- The Menu (that we provided, doesn't include what was brought):
- Appetizers: Ham pinwheels (flour tortillas spread with flavored cream cheese, add lunchmeat ham and lettuce, roll up and wrap with plastic wrap, chill for at least 2 hours, then slice up); cream cheese with hot pepper jelly on top, served with wheat thins
- My ex-stepmom D. made crockpot meatballs and they were DELISH - pre-made meatballs with Trader Joe's BBQ sauce and half a jar of orange marmalade. SO GOOD, they smelled fantastic, too.
- Main Meal: Slow-cooker Carnitas, refried beans and fixins'
- Dessert: Oreo Mint cookies (Hey, they taste good, amiright?)
- Beverages: Water, Hot Cocoa Bar (Hot Cocoa and Liqueurs to mix in), Wine
- Entertainment: Our favorite holiday cartoons ("Charlie Brown Christmas" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas") and movies, holiday music, and our own company! Seriously, my siblings and I have to watch those two cartoons together or it doesn't quite feel like Christmas, at least for me. (If we can't watch it together, I'll at least watch them on my own - they're my favorites!) We also exchanged gifts, which was awesome. Everyone liked their gifts from me, thank goodness!