There’s the menu to plan, the booze to buy, the grocery shopping to do. With a laundry list of to-do’s, entertaining during the holidays can sometimes seem more stressful than enjoyable. But with a tight game plan and some creativity you’ll be on your way to hosting the do of the season.

Plan ahead
Whether it’s creating a guest list or stocking up on liquor, planning ahead gives you an idea of your must-haves and saves you from last-minute stress. Jot down your needs in a notebook and start gathering early. Set up a schedule and leave shopping for produce until the day before so everything is fresh.

Keep it simple
With only a few weeks left before the holiday frenzy begins it’s best you leave the fabulosity to Kimora. If that five-course meal you’ve been dreaming up means you’ll be sweating in the kitchen the whole day consider doing it up buffet-style. A low-key holiday party is easier to manage and it’ll give you more time to mingle with guests.

Check your stock

There’s nothing like realizing you don’t have enough marshmallows for your candied yams on Thanksgiving day. Gather all your ingredients beforehand. Check your pantry and cupboards for essentials and restock where necessary.

Stay on budget
Everyone’s feeling the pinch this holiday season. Luckily you don’t have to break the bank to stay stylish.  Shop for discount liquor at merchants like Trader Joe’s or ask your guests to bring side dishes or desserts. Look around your house for decorative accents like glass vases and dried potpourri that can double as a table centerpiece.

Make food ahead of time
A crowded stovetop can be the worst motivator. Assess what dishes can be cooked ahead and frozen. Surprisingly, holiday staples like mashed potatoes and stuffing maintain their flavor despite being frozen. This will leave you free to tackle mains like turkey and baked chicken.

Chances are your female relatives aren’t trying to sit around eating finger foods at your gathering so go ahead and ask for their help. Ask your auntie to make her famous gravy or your nana for her spicy eggnog. You’re still the hostest with the mostest but it’s a collaborative affair.

Eat what you like
The holidays are a time for traditions but you don’t always have to play by the rules. Throw in some global flavor, like Moroccan couscous or wasabi mashed potatoes, but still keep some holiday favorites for the purists.

Be child-friendly
It’s fancy and all but this really isn’t the time to whip out your Versace china, especially if family members are coming with children in tow. Think like a restaurant and stock the children’s table with crayons and games to get them creative.

Make clean up easy
With all the trendy disposable tableware out there’s no reason you should be worried about dishes piling up. There’s a myriad of styles to suit your taste, and luckily they’re recyclable.