It is hard to host a holiday celebration, and to be honest, it’s a lot of stress that can be hard to handle, especially if you’re a perfectionist. But I’ve got five great tips to help you make your Easter celebration a little easier for everyone, especially you.
In advance of the dinner, you’re going to want to make some decisions. Rather than competing with trying to get in dinner, an egg hunt, or whatever else you need to do in the post-church lunch, why not consider switching your Easter dinner to Saturday instead of the traditional Sunday? Or, postpone it by a week and celebrate the following Saturday. This will allow you plenty of time to enjoy Easter dinner with your family, and will open Sunday open to put your focus on what Easter is really all about, beyond the bunny and the eggs. Plus, you’re not worrying about running home after church to cook before everyone gets there. Just one simple date switch can help change the entire mood of the celebration, and gives you more time to prepare.
Once you have your date figured out, it’s time to trim and polish your guest list. By only inviting as many guests as you personally can handle, you’ll make it easier on yourself. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t mind hosting a 40-guest feast, then open yourself up to a large party. But if a larger party stresses you out, trim the guest list until it’s more manageable for you. If you’re afraid of hurting feelings by not inviting someone, then just go with the “We just don’t have as much space as we’d like, so we’re going with a more intimate celebration this year.” When paring the guest list, if there’s anyone that causes a lot of stress for you that you can remove from the guest list tactfully, now is the time to make that cut, again, using the space excuse if you must. Sometimes, trimming a few negative nellies is a good way to make Easter a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
As you start planning your menu, consider how you want dinner to be served. Rather than building a whole sit down dinner, why not consider a buffet-style serving method? This will allow you less job serving everyone, and more time enjoying the meal with your family and friends. Plus, if you have multiple tables (like a kid’s table and an adult table, or a dining table and a kitchen table, to accommodate more guests), you’re not having to worry about doing things like providing rolls and food to every table. Instead, everyone can dip their food and come back for more if they need to.
Once you’ve figured out your Easter menu, you can start looking at what foods can be prepared early. The earlier you can prepare some of your foods, the less you need to do the day of the meal. For example, you can hardboil eggs up to 7 days in advance, and devil them later, to cut down on boiling needs the day of. Consider making as many foods ahead as possible. The Rustic Carrot Cookies I shared can keep for several days in an airtight container in the freezer. Plus, if you find a really good type of roll the day before, is anyone really going to miss the ones that take you all day to make? For dinner, some store-bought stuff can work just as well as the real-deal. The best part is that you can even decorate the day before– the night before your celebration, go ahead and decorate the table, set up the buffet centerpiece, and more so you can have it all ready in advance of the actual meal. Then, at meal time, you can just set the food out and everyone will be impressed with how hard you worked! Even better, if you know your kids are old enough to know not to touch it, or if you’re using a dining room that can be closed off, and you won’t be using it for a few days in advance of Easter, you can always set up even days in advance. It’s one less thing to do the day of the main event!
Finally, the day of, while you can control most factors, it seems that kids are the wild card. Consider providing activities or games for the kids to do that will entertain them. Aside from the traditional egg hunt, you could consider offering coloring pages, or a small craft. Alternately, you could see about asking/bribing/blackmailing one of the older kids/younger teens to do some fun egg dyeing techniques for them (but no, really, consider asking families with kids for a small donation to pay for the teen to play with and entertain the kiddos– the kids get fun and attention, the teen gets a little pocket money, and the adults get a stress-free dinner without worrying that it’s their kid who is going to leave sharpie on the dining room table). Both the Easy Marble Egg Dye (link) and Volcano Egg Dye (link) are popular at the moment, have a big wow factor, and can keep kids entertained and your life much less stressful. Looking for something even the younger set can really enjoy safely? Try the Edible Peeps PlayDough recipe that’s been floating around the web (link)!
What are your tips for keeping Easter entertaining stress-free? Share them in the comments below!