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The holiday season is quickly approaching, and perhaps you’re thinking of hosting a gathering for your friends, family, and coworkers. Hosting a party has many responsibilities and can easily become a stressful task. However, if you plan ahead, you can host a party and actually enjoy it.

Start by planning the menu. If you’re going to be making the food, choose recipes that you can make ahead. It’s also a good idea to pick foods that will be easy to eat. You can even consider finger-foods, so you don’t have to worry about utensils, and less cleanup at the end of the night.

With food comes drinks, and to avoid playing bartender all night, think of easy cocktails such as wine, beer, or ones you can make ahead and serve in pitchers.

Next, consider the lighting and music. Will there be strings of Christmas lights or a tree? Candles? Holiday music? When making a playlist, give the music a good mix-up, so people hear a variety of songs.

When it comes to helpful details, these are the things that are going to save you from running ragged all night. Consider renting a coat rack from a party rental site to avoid any confusion about where to pile the coats. During the party, keep a sink of warm soapy water to put dishes in to soak. Party getting too warm? Crack a window to let in some fresh air.

When you’re ready for the party to wind down, blow out a few candles, turn down the music, and turn on a light to give your guests a signal, if needed. Have takeout boxes handy to send leftovers home with party-goers. And finally, before you go to bed, clean up a little bit, such as the trash, so you don’t wake-up to a complete mess.