HOW TO HOST A HOLIDAY WITH EASE
Keep It Intimate
For multicourse dinners, more guests isn't always merrier. If possible, keep the count between six and 10.
Try a Test Run
Make a mini version of new recipes the week before: Cut them in half and serve to your family for dinner. Let the feedback flow, and take notes on any changes you wish to make.
Ask reliable family members or close friends to help with a few elements, like bringing the wine and keeping track of empty bottles, or stirring the soup to make sure it doesn't burn.
If you normally need one of something for your dinner table (salt and pepper shakers, serving utensils, an ice bucket), it's safe to assume you'll need two -- one at each end of the table -- for a holiday.
Don't sweat the small stuff
No need to spend time ironing napkins and polishing silverware -- or coaxing the peas into neat piles on plates. Focus on creating flavorful food and keeping guests mingling.