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Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve—holiday season is in full swing. While it can be nothing but fun if you’re just a guest, it can be a lot of pressure when you’re hosting. Here’s how to throw the holiday party everyone will be taking about next year without becoming a panicked, stressed-out mess.

Throw it somewhere else. While this only works if you have the budget to do so—throwing it somewhere that is not your house will not only make your life easier in terms of party planning, it’ll make cleanup a breeze. Not having to clean your house after is a huge bonus, and this way you don’t have to be super selective about who you invite (avoiding hurt feelings) because everyone will fit in the venue you choose.

Create a special drink for the evening. Not only with this up the wow factor of your party (everyone loves an exclusive drink), it will help keep your bar to a minimum. Have the regular drinks on hand, but if someone wants a specialty cocktail you’ll have a single option and won’t have to stock up on a variety of special liqueurs.

Hire help. If you want to get real fancy, you can always hire a party planner to create a custom party that will knock the socks off your friends, co-workers or family. If you’re throwing the party in your own home, consider hiring clean-up help for the post-party mess. This will mean you can relax throughout the party without worrying about the work you’ll have to do after—someone else will take care of it.

Consider the meal. While you might want to do a traditional sit-down meal for Thanksgiving or Christmas with the family, another option (and a great one for a gathering of friends) is to keep it potluck or buffet style. Potlucks take away a large chunk of the heavy lifting, leaving you much less stressed. They also let your guests contribute in a larger way than just bringing a bottle of wine for the host.

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