With all the holiday festivities this time of year, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. Between the office party circuit and informal get-togethers with family and friends, the holiday season can become a blur. Not only do you have to get you and your family’s schedule in order for all the events, you probably have a few soirees to host yourself. To make the most of your time, here are few ways to make hosting during the holidays less time-consuming and more fun:

Go Bespoke

Instead of serving the usual wine, beer and non-alcoholic options, add in a signature drink to kick off the festivities. A festive option is a white cranberry martini. Add a holiday-inspired name like Winter’s Kiss and you’ve created a one-of-a-kind cocktail: Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 oz vodka
  • Splash of Cointreau
  • 3-4 oz white cranberry juice
  • Cranberries (for garnish)

Heat Things Up

For warm beverages, try spiced apple cider. It will fill your home with the scents of the season and also ensure that your guests who prefer a non-alcoholic option don’t feel left out. Simply heat apple cider (readily available at supermarkets) in a medium pot and add a bundle of cloves, all spice and cinnamon (wrapped together in cheesecloth) and simmer. Serve in glass mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick. This is also a big hit with kids – they can use the cinnamon sticks as straws.

Test your Luck

The whole point of the holidays is spending time with friends and loved ones. But, with all the hubbub, it’s sometimes easy to forget the whole point of all the madness. If you’re feeling too overwhelmed to host a dinner party from start to finish yourself – don’t. You won’t enjoy the evening and you’ll be too stressed out to catch up with everyone. Instead, opt for a pot luck. It may be more casual, but it’s an easy way to host a brood of people without the added pressure (or expense) of having to prepare three courses. Try going with a theme and encourage your guests to have fun with it. It likely will be a new tradition that you continue every year.

Now that you’ve simplified the all-encompassing holiday dinner, you will have even more time to wrap gifts, bake goodies and spend time with your family. Remember, tis the season to relax, rejoice and reconnect. Make sure you have time for all three.