Whether you’re hosting a few guests for the entire weekend in Sarasota or having the whole family over for dinner on the big day, there’s a lot of preparation to be done! From setting up the guest room to preparing a delicious feast, there are several ways you can make your job as “host with the most” easier. Here are seven holiday hosting hips to get you through the season.

1. Cook ahead of time.
Food preparation is key during the holidays, especially when you have a house filled with guests. Desserts, snacks, and easy meals will be extremely convenient to have on hand. 

2. Stock your pantry.
Stock up on foods that guests can snack on, such as cereal, chips, crackers, granola, nuts, and bread. If you want to go the extra mile, set snacks out in the kitchen with bowls, silverware, and napkins. This way, your guests can easily help themselves without having to inquire where everything is.

3. Write a welcome note.
If guests are coming in from out of town, leave a few essentials in their room. Clean towels, an alarm clock, a hair dryer, and basic toiletries are all nice gestures. In addition, leave a note with some helpful tips for their stay. Include information about the WiFi password, the nearest coffee shop, and instructions for the TV.

4. Small touches make a difference.
Fresh flowers, a pot of coffee, and a scented candle can make a huge impact on your guests’ comfort. Small touches, such as a spare phone charger, will stand out.

5. Skip the paper napkins and paper plates.
This is the season for real silverware and linen napkins. If you’re hosting a large crowd, check out a thrift shop and go for the trendy mismatched look. IKEA also has some chic but inexpensive dinner plates and flatware.

6. Buy a coat rack.
If you don’t have a lot of extra closet space, buy a coat rack for your guests to hang clothing and outerwear on. You can find inexpensive options at Target, Walmart, and IKEA.

7. Take a deep breath.
While the holiday season is the “most wonderful time of the year”, it can also be extremely stressful. Take a moment to breathe amidst the chaos. Whether it’s a glass of wine, a mug of tea, or a quick meditation, do what you need in order to relax and decompress.