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The dos and don’ts of easy holiday entertaining

A celebrity gossip junky, Caroline Goddard has been writing entertainment news for longer than the world has known Kim Kardashian's name. Follow her on Twitter at @GoddardCaroline.

Holiday entertaining tips

Holiday celebrations are meant to be joyful, but too often for the hosts they are more of a headache than a heartfelt gathering. Get the dos and don'ts of holiday entertaining here!

Holiday entertaining tips

Too often busy women place too much pressure on themselves to entertain like Martha Stewart, and forget to spend time enjoying time with their loved ones. These do's and don'ts of easy holiday entertaining can help you enjoy more spontaneous gatherings with the best gifts of all: your family and friends.

Holiday entertaining tipsDO keep your decor simple, yet festive

Fill a bowl with colorful ornaments and use it as a centerpiece. String your holiday cards over the fireplace.

Holiday entertaining tipsDON'T go crazy in the kitchen

Make one or two of your signature recipes, and purchase the rest pre-made from the deli or a local restaurant.

Holiday entertaining tipsDO use candles to create atmosphere

Clusters of candles can create a dramatic effect with little effort.

Holiday entertaining tipsDON'T chase the kids around all night

Consider hiring a sitter to keep the children entertained while the adults relax.

Holiday entertaining tipsDO keep an emergency entertainment kit handy for last-minute guests.

Include frozen canapes, a bottle each of wine and sparkling cider, hard cheeses, wheat crackers, nuts and a frozen pie.

Holiday entertaining tipsDON'T puzzle for hours over music

Many cable providers offer televised music stations that include a "Sounds of the Season" offering. iTunes radio has great offerings, too.

Holiday entertaining tipsDO keep your outfit simple

Fussing over your clothes will only cause more stress. A great-fitting, simple dress with a dramatic necklace is stunning and fuss-free.

Holiday entertaining tipsDON'T get kitchy with holiday-wear

Unless you are having an "Ugly Sweater Party", no one wants to see your reindeer sweater or ornament earrings.

Holiday entertaining tipsDO display your holiday cards

String them over the mantle or a doorway. Guests will recognize their own and feel good that you chose to put it out instead of tossing it out.

Holiday entertaining tipsDON'T do more than you know how to do well

The day of your party is not the time to experiment. Offering the familiar beautifully is a much better option than offering something new but average.

Holiday entertaining tipsDO skip the flowers

You never know who might be allergic, plus they are expensive and many are toxic to pets.

Holiday entertaining tipsDON'T invite more guests than you can comfortably enjoy

Not only do you deserve to spend time with each guest, but your guests deserve to spend time with you -- and have someplace to sit!

Holiday entertaining tipsDO relax and enjoy

The point of holiday gatherings is to spend time with your loved ones. Spending the evening slaving over a hot stove and cleaning up spills will make you wonder why you bothered in the first place.

Holiday how-to

How to display holiday cards

Do you love the annual flurry of holiday greetings, but not the tumbling mess it creates on the mantel? This creative solution is a fun and easy way to show off your cards.

Get more holiday survival tips

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7 shopping tips to reduce holiday stress
5 Ways to survive the holidays with your kids

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