Five tips for planning the perfect holiday party

Set yourself up for success with these easy-to-use hostess tips.
By Alanna Glassman and Lora Grady
railing, pottery barn, holiday decoration Pottery Barn

1. Set a festive mood Here's an easy way to warm up your home with seasonal scents before guests arrive: Place cinnamon sticks, orange and apple peels and a few whole cloves in boiling water. Simmer and allow the fragrance to waft through every room.

2. Pare back Researchers at the University of Toronto have uncovered the secret to planning the perfect party without being a perfectionist: It's about learning from past mistakes and losing those lofty expectations. Karen Cohen, chief executive officer of the Canadian Psychological Association, shares these strategies for surviving with your merriment in tact.

3. Review expectations: Are they realistic, or are you trying to live up to your in-laws' dream dinner?

4. Remember last year: What was doable? What was exhausting?

5. Buy time: Give yourself an extra hour to do everything on your list. (And ask for help when it's needed!)


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