5 Things A Savy Hostess Would Do Over The Holidays

5 THINGS A SAVVY HOSTESS WOULD DO- And you should do them too! Be ready to host anything from an impromptu get together to a weekend with lots of guests. Be a calm, welcoming and put together hostess!

It’s closer than you think! The season of overindulging and partying and hosting parties and overnight guests is upon us. From now until New Year’s StoneGable is one big party animal!!!! I love that everyone comes to our home to get together and celebrate so I need to be on top of my hostess game. Here are 5 things that help me be the hostess with the most-ess. And hopefully, they will help you too!



Here are some helpful tips for entertaining in all its forms and still remaining calm and sane!!!!


I have waited until the last minute to throw together a dinner party or prepare for weekend guests and I’m here to tell you as I live and breathe… DON’T DO IT!!!!! You can do better than that! And waiting to plan an event, even a small one, will make you cranky and stressed!

If you want everyone to have a lovely, memorable time and that includes you too, you will want to plan and plan early!

Now is not too early to plan those fall birthday parties, Halloween party (actually you better get moving on this one), Thanksgiving, Holiday get-togethers, Christmas and Thanksgiving guests etc. You get the picture!

Make lists and follow through is my best advice. My sister-in-law Sue is a great party giver and a fun hostess when we stay for the weekend. She has those old fashioned composition books filled with guest lists and every meal she made along with recipes and notes for every party and get together she has ever thrown. A-MAZING!!! It is a treasure trove of the best of the best ideas!!!

I plan and keep all my notes Evernote (app) or even Google Docs so I have them handy all the time!

Whatever you do this holiday season… plan!!!


I’m an Amazon Prime member and I use Amazon Fresh regularly. I order most of my groceries online and they show up at my door two days later! How fabulous is that!

My only regret is that I did not start doing this earlier! When I’m planning for my weekly dinner menus or for a party I shop Amazon Fresh. My time is too valuable and short to go grocery shopping. For a nominal monthly fee,  I get my grocery shopping done in record time!

Even if you don’t want to use Amazon Fresh all year long using it over the Holidays might be a real smart thing to do!

You can find Amazon Fresh at Amazon.com… and no, I’m not getting paid for this shout-out! I just LOVE this Amazon service!


One of the biggest things to do when hosting guests is to clean and organize your home. I say start now to clean and organize it right now and then get on a routine for cleaning and for organizing daily! Not only will you have a fabulously clean house but you will not have to run around cleaning and tossing things in closets and under beds before guests come. How exhausting!

Why not LIVE IN a company ready home? 

One of my most popular posts is CLEAN YOUR HOME IN 30 MINUTES A DAY. And it works!!!! Cleaning is a discipline and must become part of your daily life. But we’re not talking hours a day… only 30 minutes. You can do that?

I also have a few great ways to organize your life at the bottom of this post I know will help. 

When those holiday events at your house roll around you will be able to throw your door open and greet your guests knowing your home is clean and tidy!!!!


One of the best things to do when hosting a party is to have help. My mom loves to help me during a party and I also hire a young girl or two to give me an energetic hand. They love learning and practicing how to be a good hostess

I’ve also found a fabulous friend/assistant/party helper/cook/clean-upper! She really will do it all! And she is worth her weight in gold! Find your own “Katie” and it will make your life so much better by knowing her!

If a guest offers to help say YES for heaven’s sake!!!!! People love to help!!!

I also hire help to clean up after big, big parties. This is invaluable to me!!!

If you don’t have a few extra $$ in the budget for help how about helping a friend with a holiday party in exchange for her helping you? 

What we can handle other times of the year become more difficult during the holidays. Time is at a premium and there is way more to do than that precious commodity will allow! So things like parties and weekend guest I would normally handle myself call for a little help from a friend or two!



Don’t make YOU an afterthought. If you like getting a mani and pedi then schedule one. If a massage before a hectic week of guest and gatherings will relax you, do it!!! Get your hair trimmed or colored or both! And don’t skip the Bible study you love or that weekly meeting with friends because you have too much to do! 

Know ahead of time what you will wear and make sure it’s in tip-top condition! Put yourself together as if you were attending someone else’s party!

Eat well and wisely, drink lots of water and stay away of over imbibing. Keep up your daily or weekly exercise schedule. These things are so so important to keep you, the hostess, happy and strong! 

If you feel less than wonderful it’s hard to make others feel important and special and welcomed and loved.


There you have it!!!  The 5 things I do to be a savvy hostess! I hope they will help you over the busy holiday season!

I want to leave you with these little thoughts. Tuck them away in your mind and remember them when you have guests. They are little sayings that have served me well over the years.  “People are more important than things” and “Loving hospitality is what my guests deserve”!


Here’s to a happy, healthy and joyful holiday season and being a sparkling hostess!






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5 THINGS A SAVVY HOSTESS WOULD DO- And you should do them too! Be ready to host anything from an impromptu get together to a weekend with lots of guests. Be a calm, welcoming and put together hostess!

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  1. One of the most BRILLIANT (ok, maybe not in caps, but still brilliant) suggestions you gave several years ago was the dishpan prep and clean-up. Several dishpans with everything you need for the dinner party and then for the clean-up. Guests want to help. So one gets the pan with “silverware in here”, another gets the “dinner plates in here”, etc. And magically the table(s) are cleared and everything is relatively hidden. Yep, keep the brilliant in caps. It was a BRILLIANT idea that still is BRILLIANT!! Thank you.

  2. Norma Rolader says:

    Thank you Thank you for some great tips for planning for the holidays God bless

  3. Great tips as always!!

  4. janeinbama says:

    Great list. I have started hiring a college age girl to help when I throw parties. She does not get interrupted doing tasks, does not know the guests and helps me stay on track. Why, oh why did I just start doing this??? She loves the $$ and I love the help!!

  5. You are so correct in starting early with holiday prep. It seems that unless my home is totally clean and organized I just feel unprepared. I must say I have had problems finding reliable cleaning and hosting help. I am working on that one.

    One of my favorite pre-Holiday projects is the making of my (now famous) gift baskets. My Son hosts Thanksgiving and I present the baskets at that time because some of the attendees I will not see until after the New Year. Each basket holds some staples. That includes at least two dried organic herb or herb combinations from my garden stored in nice little jars. I sew and embroider as well and provide a set of kitchen towels, pot holders, mug rugs, aprons etc. depending on the person and I monogram or personalize the items. I add fresh home-made bread, dried home-made noodles, quick breads or muffins and home-made jellies or jams. If that person likes sweets I will add cookies or candy. I have been doing this for some time and I think it gets a little more detailed each year. Christmas holidays are at my house and that is another story all together!

  6. Thanks Yvonne for this post
    With the crazy year coming to a close (did a total renovation of my kitchen, dining room along with installation of a new 9 foot window in my family room and landscaping) I’m ready for some fun and entertaining. These tips will be helpful.

    I love the reading of Hebrews 13. Particularly verse 2. “”Do not neglect hospitality for through it some have unknowingly entertained Angels. “

    Love it❣️Let the parties begin!

  7. I really stress over entertaining, so these tips are great! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Great tips Yvonne. Now I need to learn Google Docs,,!,, need to get organized for the holidays and your tips are great. Thanks for sharing!,,,

  9. As always, fabulous tips. The one tip that I really appreciated from awhile back is the one you shared about the dishpan cleanup; genius.

  10. Gayle Lind says:

    I love your blog. I especially love the apron “I work by the flour”. I would love to give that apron to my niece at Christmas and of course, one for me.

    I fell in love with Fall when we lived in PA. for 11 years.

    Thank you for your decorating tips and your inspirational words.

  11. Fabulous tips Yvonne. I have incorporated your dishpan task into my entertaining as well! I/we have been hosting Thanksgiving for 21 years….and early on I planned out the 7 days prior to what tasks need to be done/by whom in the house. I keep all info (menu/task cars/plan) in a orange folder for Thanksgiving Entertaining. Some were also things to keep little ones hands busy, by helping roll silverware in napkins, etc. Extended family is with us in odd years for Thanksgiving, and even years, Christmas. So all our kids are teen/young adult now, I have got in the practice of preparing a holiday itinerary & just emailed it to SIL — includes Weds, is travel & arrival day – cousins do an activity together;Thanksgiving day, we are doing family photos before dinner(!) this year; a short neighborhood walk, dessert then a game night with a light supper. On Black Friday we are going to invite the rest of the in-town cousins (could be 5 more families!) for a moderate hike in a nearby state park.

  12. I always try to be organized or I can’t function.Your are very organized,great tips.

  13. Thank you. This was the boost I needed about the grocery shopping. I am just doing it. Even if Amazon isn’t set up yet here we have a grocery store that does it for a fee. I need help. The pay a young person. Good advice. I have several in mind to help me. I’m asking now. Blessings.

  14. These are really good ideas to get ready for the holidays. I need to start with number one and go down the list!

  15. Karen VanLoo says:

    Thank you for these wonderful tips! While this time of the year and upcoming holidays are my favorite time of they year, they’re also the most stressful. With a full-time job and daily chores, trying to keep a neat and tidy home and take care of those we love with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is difficult. I make lists, and I’m fortunate to have a maid service come once a month to give me a break and to do deep cleaning, so I just follow your tips for cleaning in 30 minutes a day, every day, to stay on top of it. I still haven’t tried the online grocery shopping thing yet, but may do that soon! The main thing is to take a deep breath, and enjoy this time of the year and all of our blessings.

  16. Lisa Soares says:

    I’ve recently found your blog via your podcast (love all your great ideas!).. I plan to go back and read more of your lovely posts. But I wanted to leave you a comment here hoping you would see it…I’m working my way through all your podcasts and today I was listening to the one about what every kitchen needs and you mentioned how much you love cookbooks. I love to collect them too, but I was feeling that I wasn’t using the recipes as much as I should. Then I found a website http://www.eatyourbooks.com from another website http://www.food52.com. I love Eat Your Books! Crazy name, but the premis of the site is to get you to use your cookbooks more by helping you find recipes in your books. So, basically what you do is set up an account with them and add all your cookbooks (which is quite easy…for instance, if you have The Barefoot Contessa’s cookbooks…just search for her and her cookbooks will be listed and you check them off to add to your library). You can also add blogs you follow and magazines. Once your books, blogs and/or magazines are in your account you can do searches by ingredients, author, recipe type, etc. and it will list recipes for you and tell you what book they are in even sometimes what page. I hope my explanation makes sense! Anyway, when you said how much you liked cookbooks I thought I should tell you about this site.

    The other thing I wanted to tell you is that I love your idea of covering books in burlap and I was at JoAnn’s and they actually sell self adhesive burlap for covering books!

    Anyway, I hope you see this comment. Please just let me know if you did. I wasn’t sure if I should leave it over on the podcast website or here. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lisa! You should start a blog!!!! What WONDERFUL tips. I’m going to head over to eat you books and register all my cookbooks. Wow!!!! And I have a little time to head over to JoAnne’s website to look for adhesive burlap. YOU GO GIRL!!!! I love readers like you that share such fabulous tips!!!
      Thanks for listening to our podcast and now being a StoneGable reader!

  17. Just listened to your podcast as well as previously read this post….however I wanted to comment on something in the podcast. The index cards — For years and years now, I have used 4×6 cards for recipes and many other things…..especially for special event menus (kids birthdays, Valentines Day dinner, etc…) So I have a chronological stack of these event menus, usually with the date/occasion noted on it as well. I can always re-use that menu, and remember how things went from that time.

  18. Norma Rolader says:

    Oh my love love the tips for planning ahead and the preparing for guest

  19. The hangers with plates…did you make it? What adhesive did you use to attach the hooks to the plates. I have some one of a kind plates and this would be an excellent idea to get them out and have them visible!

    1. Everyone loves this hanger! No I did not make them but I’m hoping to do a diy someday!