You know we host a lot of gatherings here at the cottage throughout the year, and the holidays are no exception.
I've been highly influenced by Emilie Barnes' books through the years and that's how I learned to cook my famous turkey. Hint: slow roasting overnight.
I've learned to set the table a few days a head, ask people to bring side dishes or desserts, to focus on the reason we're gathering and the people.
Cheryl at Thinking About Home, has great tips and her blog is full of inspiration for gatherings. A longtime blog friend has written a book to inspire connection called Simple Gatherings.
This book is full of easy tips to make hosting a 'gathering' simple. (she has other really good books, too!)
Remember, the main things about hospitality are this:
1. People love to be asked. Everyone loves to know you've thought of them and want them to come, and many people are lonely at the holidays.
2. They don't care if you have a small home, or simple dwelling.
3. They will be willing to bring something, just ask!
If you think about it ahead, and don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed, your gatherings can be fun for everyone. I also find it helpful to set aside expectations. If you build up an ideal in your head, and then reality doesn't fit that, you'll be miserable and feel like a failure. You don't need to go there! Keep it simple, and focus on the people, not the to do list. It will be so much fun!