How to Survive Hosting the Holidays- Eight Tips

Hosting for any holiday can be stressful, but we all must do it every now and then, especially if you have small children. My husband and I prefer to host so we don’t have to worry about travel plans for a family of four with two under five years old. Holiday travel is hard enough and adding little ones to the mix doesn’t make it any easier! Since we have hosted our fair share of holidays at our home, I figured I would share some of my wisdom and tips for surviving as a host for the 2018 holiday season. So here we go:

Tip One: Ask someone to help document the day for you. As a photographer, this one was hard at first because I always assumed I would take pictures, but the reality of hosting always gets in the way so make sure you have one or two designated documenters to help take pictures of everyone throughout the day. Don’t forget to tell them to snap a few photos of the details and the host, too! 

Tip Two: Get disposable everything! There is nothing worse than a full house and no clean dishes. Make sure to have disposable options so there is less clean up at the end of the day. For you environmentally friendly people, there are lots of great earth-friendly disposable options.

Tip Three: Popup garbage cans are a godsend! I got one for my baby’s first birthday party and will never host a party or holiday in my home without one again. They are so easy to use and dispose of at the end of the day. We have all been there when you have 10-plus people in your home and you can’t seem to keep the garbage can empty, or you have to tell someone every five minutes where to find a garbage can. This will help with all that!

Tip Four: Take deep breaths and have lots of wine on hand! This seems like a no brainer but it is hard to breathe and relax in the moment, so take a few deep breaths throughout the holiday, and take a sip of wine or whatever type of beverage that helps put you in your happy place. Better yet get a Winc subscription! Use the promo code ihustleforher to get $22 off your first box of wine!

Tip Five: Excuse yourself for some personal space. This helps if tip four is not enough. If you need a break or are starting to feel anxious, sneak up to your room or onto the back porch for some fresh air. This will help center you and calm you back down if you are starting to feel overwhelmed with a full house.

Tip Six: Eat as you go! This one is easy, sometimes as the host there is not much time to eat so snack and test as you are putting it all out. That way you are fed and you get to try everything while it is still hot — a novelty for most mothers!

Tip Seven: When people ask if they can bring anything, be prepared with an answer. This seems kind of silly but how many times do family members ask what they can bring and you say “nothing” or “yourself”? When the reality is you are forking the bill for dinner and drinks so why not let them bring something! Make sure it is something you need and something that will save you some time and money in the end, like wine and dessert or a side dish.

Tip eight: Try to enjoy yourself. This is an obvious one but make sure to have fun and enjoy the time with your family. You don’t get to see them all together very often, so have fun and make memories with your family and help your kids make memories and start new traditions!

I hope these tips help add some sanity into your holiday hosting. Hopefully, everyone reading this has a wonderful 2018 holiday season. Happy Hosting, everyone!

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Sweet One- Sprinkle Themed Ice Cream Birthday Party

Well, our baby girl is officially a one year old! I love planning first birthday parties, mostly because I get to decide on the party theme and all the fun décor. As your kids get older, they form these things called “opinions” and want to have a say. So, take full advantage when you can when it comes to the party ideas!

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For Ella Jaye’s party, I decided on an ice cream theme so I could bring my sprinkle obsession to life. After some late-night pinning and some Amazon Prime ordering, because let’s face it…with two kids I did not have as much time to order the handmade stuff off Etsy in time for the party, we were all set.

For our ice cream party, I created a sprinkle room with long, skinny balloons taped on the walls like giant sprinkles! The balloons were too long so I had to tie them off and cut them (kind of like sausages) to create smaller sprinkles. Each balloon made about three sprinkles. I got a super cute ice cream bar banner off Amazon to finish off the room.

Pro tip: Make sure you have a balloon pump on hand, apparently you need one to blow up this type of balloon.

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I also found the cutest and affordable ($17.99) Ice Cream Truck dessert stand to use for the ice cream bar. The best part was how well made it was, now my oldest daughter can use it as a toy in her playroom.

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I bought gold balloons from Hobby Lobby to spell out “One” and “Ella.”  While browsing through Target, I found a cute photo banner that displayed photos of Ella from 1-12 months old.

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For her first Birthday, we got Ella a pop-up ice cream truck, it was a big hit with all the kids (big and small). We filled the truck with balls that we had saved from Caroline’s first birthday party – ball pits are always a hit!

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On Amazon, I found the cutest little ice cream cone shooters to use as party favors. We knew there would be older kids from our neighborhood at the party and wanted them to have something fun to take home.

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I was able to find sprinkle trays and some other sprinkle themed party items at local stores like Hobby Lobby and Target. I did order cupcake toppers and her birthday outfit on Etsy. When ordering on Etsy, I also use Ebates to save a percentage on my order.

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I was surprised to find a cute little “1” party hat and high chair skirt on Amazon. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised at how many cute party items I found on Amazon. I think this is because more small vendors are distributing through Amazon these days. I love this because I can support smaller business but still have the convenience of my Prime membership. 

Parties are always stressful, but it is nice to be able to welcome family and friends into your home. We had a wonderful time celebrating our baby girl’s first birthday and look forward to many more to come!