As the unofficial “social planner” of your household, you’re well aware that the scheduling of functions with family and friends can require much stressful preparation — even if the final reward of quality time together is always worth the trouble. But with a little extra attention to detail, you can smooth out the rough edges of this habitually hectic routine.

The holiday season is always the busiest time of year for get-togethers. Naturally, stress levels for those attempting to make plans can arise just the same. So in the days preceding your company’s arrival, devote at least an hour each day to some light exercise or meditation. This could mean a refreshing jog around the neighborhood, or something less physical like enjoying a great book or a delicious cup of cocoa. A relaxed mind and body will be much better suited to enjoy the company.

Once the house is full of guests, don’t feel awkward about inviting them to assist you in the kitchen. People generally enjoy cooking and, being that you’re around family and friends to begin with, they’ll jump at the chance to help. You might even pick up a few techniques or recipes from the more experienced cooks in the room!

In the event that a larger number of guests decide to stay the night than you planned, offer to share the cost with them for the more comfortable confines of a local motel. They’ll likely appreciate your offer to both provide them with their own personal space, and to handle part of the bill.

Having guests is something most of us look forward to. However, like with many of life’s great joys — work comes before rewards. But being prepared to handle the stressful moments will give you the confidence and free reign to enjoy what you’ve assembled!