As many major holidays draw near, there are families the world over planning and preparing for the perfect holiday dinner to share with their loved ones. And while you may be looking forward to spending time with the people you care about most, the stress of these events can often take a big toll on the host. With all the food prep, cleaning, decorating and overall planning, some hosts may feel like they just can’t wait for the holidays to be over. So to help make the holidays more enjoyable and less stressful, here are three tips for hosting the perfect holiday dinner.

Make Extra Cooking Space

Before you start breaking out your favorite recipes and all the ingredients to go along with them, you’re likely going to need to create some extra cooking and storage space in your kitchen. To help with this, Julie R. Thomson, a contributor to the Huffington Post, recommends putting away your recipe books and just printing off or copying the particular recipes you need. Move those recipe books into a different room so you can have more counter or cupboard space to store your goods. Also, once your fridge starts getting too full, you can also use any coolers you have, or even just stick things outside if the temperature is cold enough.

Cook Ahead Of Time

To ease your nerves and tension on the actual day of your dinner, Emily Lapkin and H. Camille Smith, contributors to HGTV, suggest that you cook as much as you can ahead of time. Depending on what you have planned for your menu and the amount of people you’ll be cooking for, you could even do a large soup or another dish in a slow cooker that you can set and then forget. Whatever you can cook a day or two beforehand and then just heat up will help make this event much more manageable for you.

Bring On The Appetizers

If you have to do a lot of your cooking in the few hours before your guests will arrive, MarthaStewart.com suggests that you make some appetizers ahead of time so your guests can have something to munch on while they wait for the meal. Especially if you have people coming who aren’t exactly punctual, it can be hard to have your meal ready at the precisely right time. So to make this less of an issue, bring out those appetizers so you can tide over your guests until the holiday dinner is ready to begin.

If you’re stressed about the holiday dinner you’ll be hosting this year, use the tips mentioned above to help you plan and prepare so you can feel more at ease on the day of your event.