Not everyone has to experience the stress that comes with hosting a holiday gathering. Many people visit their relatives for Christmas, meaning they don't have to deal with the preparations or clean-up tasks. If you're one of these visitors, consider yourself lucky, because being a hostess isn't easy. Although you're not required to do anything, it's always nice to show your appreciation for the hospitality and help out when and where you can. Here are a couple of ways you can show this year's hostess your thanks.
1. Ask if there's anything you can bring for dinner. If there's a big Christmas meal planned, perhaps you could show up with one of the main dishes, giving your hostess a small break. If bringing the food with you isn't an option (if you're flying or driving a long distance), offer to make the dish at her house. If you do this, be sure to clean up after yourself.
2. Surprise her with a dessert. Cakepops or chocolate gift baskets will be enjoyed by everyone at the gathering, and your hostess won't have to worry about making dessert. Just tell her that you have the final course covered so she doesn't make anything beforehand.
3. Consider showing up with something she may not have thought of, like a Christmas centerpiece or a festive display of flowers. Either one would make a nice thank you gift and would provide everyone with beautiful decorations to admire.
4. Offer to watch the kids for a while. If you think your hostess could use a break, why not offer to look after her children while she takes a nap or heads to the store? You'll be doing her a big favor and she'll appreciate your kindness. Having the little ones underfoot when she's trying to get everything ready for the bash will only cause her more stress.
5. Help her with the clean-up after the party. Offer to wash or dry a few dishes, clear the table or put away any leftovers from the meal. Even if she insists that she doesn't need you to worry about it, try to be as helpful as possible. Clear your own plate, pick up after yourself and, if you're staying over, make sure your space is as nice when you leave as it was when you arrived. She'll appreciate the fact that you're such a good guest, and she may return the favor if you should happen to host next year's gathering.