ChoresIt’s the most wonderful time of the year—or so they say! If you are anything like me, then you may be under some stress planning holiday parties and soirees that take place in your home. During this time of year, I entertain a lot in my home, and I am often the one who does everything. From preparing the food, to invites, to serving and cleaning up, many of these things fall on me. And while I love spending this time of year with my nearest and dearest, it can be stressful trying to do it all. So I like to incorporate some help from my littlest elf, who can help me with our family holiday festivities.

Having my 9-year-old daughter help out around the house during our holiday fetes really helps me out a lot, but also teaches her how to be organized and social during events. For the past two years, I have gotten her involved in helping me get ready for our holiday parties, and I try to make it as fun as possible. She sees it more as a “game” and not a chore (which it really is), and I get some much-needed assistance.

One way I get my Chicklet involved is I have her help with the décor. She is in charge of making sure that everything is put up and well-decorated, and she enjoys playing such an integral part of the process. And of course, when people come to our home and comment on how much they love the decorating, I get to toot her horn.

Martha Stewart Crafts has plenty of easy crafts that serve as décor that you and your little ones can make together, most of which you can use year after year. You can also get your child involved by taking her to the store with you to pick out décor and paper goods.

I also have my daughter help me with the silverware. She polishes them and makes sure that everything is neat and tidy for our parties. And she is also in charge of setting the table and setting out the plates. Last year, she made fabulous place setting cards for our Christmas Eve dinner that were the hit of the party.

The Chicklet is also our party photographer, and she is in charge of taking pictures during our holiday parties. What adult can say no to a kid who wants to take their picture? When I used to take the photos, many people said, “No thank you” or didn’t want to pose for the camera. But when my daughter does it, everyone thinks it’s cute that she is taking pictures and they often clamor to get their photo taken.

Of course, cleaning up after the party is never fun for anyone, but you can add an incentive to make your little one want to help out more. I offer the Chicklet a coupon for a lunch date with the both of us at her choice of restaurant. Because she knows she is getting something out of the deal, she does a better job of helping me clean up. And, of course, I praise her for doing so, which makes her feel appreciated.

The responsibility of throwing holiday parties doesn’t have to fall on your shoulders alone. Get the kiddos and the spouse to help you out, and make it a team affair. Happy holidays to you and yours!