There's nothing quite like a dinner party, especially around the holiday season. You can munch on tasty food while surrounded by cozy familial vibes and good people. Don't you wish you could host one every weekend? What's not to like?

There's a common belief that hosting a holiday party is hard to do with children around. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Before you plan your holiday dinner party, consider some important factors to make the experience as enjoyable as possible and not stressful for you, mama.

Here are several tips on how to host a beautiful dinner party:

1. Make room for the kids

Separate the adults from the children. Either make a designated kids table or move the kids to the end of the table, as this will make serving that much easier—why stress about rearranging the steak knives when you don't have to?

2. Provide personalized seating assignments

By assigning seats, you'll relieve the stress for your guests to have to decide where to sit. Create a name card for each guest and be strategic where you place people to keep the conversation going. Pro tip: Personalize seating cards to encourage conversation among guests such as stating descriptive words about the person or an object that is representative of who they are (like a favorite food) Customize these Shutterfly place cards to assign guests their seats.

3. Keep the kids busy

Want to enjoy a nice glass of champagne but need to entertain the kiddos? Art projects for kids are a great way to keep little ones entertained at parties. Have a table dedicated to one art project. Some of my favorites are:

  • Making Christmas trees out of Styrofoam and colorful buttons
  • Decorating iconic holiday desserts like cookies or cupcakes. You can even have kids decorate their desserts on plates to take home.
  • Setting up a photo station by having kids get their pictures taken on a Polaroid camera and letting them design their own frame. They can even wrap up the final creation and give it to parents as a gift.

4. Don't fix what isn't broke

Despite the elegance of the party, remember to keep it simple and ensure that you keep the party on brand for yourself and your guests. Don't go too wild with the menu with options that you don't normally eat. For example, I always incorporate french fries on every table, no matter the occasion. Plus, I always provide a menu on the table so guests know what they're about to be eating.

5. Recycle your items

Go shopping in your own cabinets and dust off those China plates that your Grandma gave you. We've all been so afraid of taking out those plates for fear of chipping them, but imperfection is beauty and those flawed plates tell a story. Don't be afraid to use your fancy plates—they look nicer on the table then they do put away. Although, again, would recommend avoiding chinaware for the kids.

6. Keep the decor low to make the conversation flow

The conversation is key to a dinner party so it's crucial to create a setting that enables this. When creating your centerpieces, make sure you find decor that is low enough for small talk. If a person cannot make eye contact with any of the guests directly across or diagonal from them, then the piece is not worth it.

7. Relax

Remember, you're having this dinner party to bring people together and spread the love. This should apply to yourself, too. If you're stressed out or too worried about everyone having a good time, what was the point of even having the dinner? It is unlikely that everything will go as planned (especially with kids), but at the end of the night, it's about the company.

Now that you've mastered the table, here are more holiday decor + entertaining trends to follow:

1. Go with burgundy

Instead of the classic red for the holidays, it's all about burgundy this year. Whether it's in your tablecloths or pillows, make sure to find a way to incorporate this gorgeous color into your holiday events.

2. Bring the outdoors indoors

People are still loving natural elements in holiday decor, so don't be afraid to find inspiration in the great outdoors. Welcome guests into your own private forest (like you're going to cut down your Christmas tree!) by using birch wood accents or oversized glitzy, gold pinecones.

3. Opt for metallics

This holiday season, I'm looking to create coziness wherever possible, which means ditching icy silver tones for warmer golds. This helps bring a sparkly, luxe vibe to any party. You can even create custom ornaments with gold accents for your tree, or have all your gifts wrapped with gold metallic ribbon.

4. Personalized gifts matter

In a time where anything we want is just one click away, purchasing more thoughtful, personalized gifts for family and friends will for sure make you stand out. Opt for a DIY gift like homemade cookies, crafty coasters or homemade body scrub.

5. Music matters too

Music can make or break the ambiance of a party so try not to just turn on a radio station and call it a day. Be thoughtful when creating a playlist for the evening to keep the holiday cheer going all night. Whether you're into contemporary holiday hits, or a fan of the classics (like me!), take the time to curate the musical experience for your guests. If you're in doubt, streaming services have great curated playlists.

6. Focus on Christmas morning

People are starting to create new family traditions on Christmas morning during the holiday season. Get up and make a fun breakfast with the kids after opening presents to focus on spending time with loved ones, not just everyone's new gifts. Try making Christmas tree waffles or reindeer red velvet pancakes. You can even have a topping bar for everyone to decorate their breakfast with fun add-ins like bananas, strawberries, chocolate chips, marshmallows and fun sauces—making it fun and tasty for everyone!

Having a newborn is challenging at the best of times, but during forced isolation and in a climate of fear and uncertainty, it can become overwhelming.

The coronavirus pandemic is setting up our communities for genuine mental health concerns. This may be especially true for new parents. When will 'normal' life return? How will I pay for diapers and baby food? Will my mom be able to help us now? What if my baby or my family get COVID-19? Unfortunately, no one knows the long-term impact or answers just yet.

Most families have built a network of social support by the time they have their first child—if they don't already have a support system, they develop one through various baby classes and groups set up for parents. The creation of the village can be instrumental to the mental health of new parents. Social distancing, the lockdown of cities, and isolation will inadvertently affect the type of support available.

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