Friends and family are a source of joy during the holidays, but entertaining is stress inducing for even the most seasoned hosts. It can feel like a race to get all your shopping, cooking and cleaning done in time. And with jobs to juggle and kids to care for, who can find the time for anything else?

Fortunately, there are simple ways to reduce your stress. With a little planning and these helpful tips, you'll be entertaining friends and family like a pro:


Never turn down help


Hosting an event doesn't mean you have to do all the work. When someone asks to help you in the kitchen or bring a dish to share, take them up on their offer. Delegate tasks to your kids, spouse, family members or friends. Everyone will enjoy knowing they helped make the event a success, so don't be afraid to reach out.


Clean strategically


You wouldn't dream of hosting a holiday event without sufficiently cleaning your house. Looking for versatility? The Shark ION P50 Powered Lift-Away Cordless Upright Vacuum allows you to clean all around the home with its ability to convert from an upright vacuum to a hand-held vacuum or stick vacuum. Before you start, make a list of important cleaning tasks you might forget, like polishing glasses or ironing the tablecloth. You're sure to impress your guests.


Use the right tools


When it comes to deep cleaning carpets and floors, you don't have to do all the work. There are so many tools to help you get the job done faster. A cordless, versatile vacuum, like the Shark ION F80 MultiFLEX Cordless Stick Vacuum, allows you to quickly clean hard-to-reach places, like underneath furniture, thanks to its ability to actually bend in half.


Get a head start


When planning your menu, choose dishes that can be made ahead of time. For example, you can make casseroles and pies a few days in advance to save time and oven space on the day of your holiday event. Even if you can't make an entire dish, look for shortcuts, like toasting nuts or mixing batters. And don't forget about your non-food prep. Make sure you have enough clean plates, silverware and napkins for all your guests. 


Go with what works


Holiday entertaining is not the best time to experiment with new recipe ideas. Instead of searching for obscure ingredients at the store, save time by sticking with what you know, especially when it comes to baking. This is not the time to stretch your limitations. If you're cooking the entire meal, consider buying a few pies or desserts from the store or asking a talented friend to whip something up.


Set the mood with decor


It's easy to let food and cooking take over your to-do list, but don't forget to make time for the fun stuff - decorating! Setting the right mood can make or break your party. Candles are a simple way to make your space feel warm and inviting while background music fills the room and makes your guests feel at ease while they mingle. Cheery lights outside will let your guests know where the party is. A little goes a long way, so keep it simple.

Quality time with family and friends is the best part of the holiday season. Don't let the stress of hosting lessen your joy. Follow these tips to lighten your workload and enjoy the season.

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