If you’re hosting a major holiday this year, you’ll want to check out these pointers that will help you out, keep you sane, and make it enjoyable for everyone.

Get A Headcount Early
You will need to know this in order to choose the correct size of the turkey, ham, or main entree to buy, how many chairs, place settings, etc. You will need to know how many you are expecting in order to let people know how large of a potluck dish they can bring to feed the crowd.

Let Others Help
Decide early on which dishes that you will provide. Then, get out your list of family and/or guests and start delegating. You’ll most likely need help setting up or cleaning beforehand. At the very least, ask folks to bring either dessert or vegetable side dishes.

Plan Your House Cleaning
You will need to get a schedule together for the week before the big event. Decide which rooms you will primarily be using, such as kitchen, dining room, family room, guest bath, etc. Plan the heavy cleaning at the first of the week, then cleaning the guest bath, then the final vacuuming and polishing off the day before. This will leave you free on the actual event day for just cooking or other last minute details.

Do Any Arranging Several Days Ahead
Make sure you have enough chairs and decide whether you are going to have one long table or several tables grouped around. If you need chairs or tablecloths, call some of your guests to bring them. Also, make sure of any booster seats or high chairs that you may need.

Have Your Refrigerator Cleaned Out
You will need the space.

Have All Your China And Silverware Counted And Clean Several Days Before
Ditto with your linens. If you’re not setting place settings on the table(s), have it stacked on the sideboard ready to go, buffet-style.

Prep A Few Dishes The Day Before
You may not want to cook all your dishes completely, but at least have as much done as possible. For instance, have the turkey stuffed and waiting in the fridge so you can just pop it in the oven early.

Set Your Food On A Big Buffet If Possible
Decide how and where you will serve the food. We use the island in the kitchen to set out all the food, nearby counters for plates and silver, then the sideboard in the dining room for drinks and cups. This keeps the flow moving and makes for less confusion.

Have Plenty Of Leftover Containers Available
Our family makes twice as much food as we need and then we divide up all the leftovers. Everybody loves everybody else’s food and your guests will have a meal or two ready for the next few days without having to worry about cooking.

Consider What Your Guests Will Want To Do After The Meal
Most families have a variety of ages and interests in the group, and a good host will want everyone to have a good time. Have the family room available to watch football. Have some toys for the little ones and a place out of the way for them to play. Remember the new mothers with babies and ask ahead if they will need a quiet bedroom in which to nurse and/or nap.

Above All, Relax!
A good host/hostess does much more than just having the turkey roasted to perfection. Your family will remember your smile, your welcoming attitude, and the fun they had at your house long after they remember the menu.

And, after all, the whole point is to have the family together, right? For better or for worse, they are your family, and this is the time to take a deep breath and be thankful for that.