Keep entertaining simple.  There are so many ways to host a holiday party, like an appetizer or dessert party, a potluck, an open house, a sing-a-long party with hot chocolate, caroling with chili, cornbread and cider, or even a simple sit-down dinner (remember you can buy pre-made food from local restaurants or markets – bring the food home and display it in your own dishes).

But how do you entertain if you aren’t feeling joyful?

Joy really comes from doing for others. It’s the simple things that really count in life that make your heart happy, happy, happy —- like giving, listening, cooking, connecting. For me, it’s about inviting friends and family in to our home. Acts of love can really make you happy, which can increase or spark that joy in your life.

Here’s the cool thing. It happens even when you don’t feel like inviting others in. (In fact, some won’t get the idea to invite others in at all, because they aren’t feeling joyful.)

Here’s how to make joy relevant in your life while entertaining this holiday season:

J – Jams: Even if you don’t have a dime to decorate your home for the holidays, there’s always time to listen to the “jams” of Christmas music. Having Christmas music playing when guests arrive sets the tone the minute they arrive, to the end of the party when they leave.

Here are ideas for free music: Spotify, Pandora, your own playlists. Or, keeping it simple, how about pulling out some of your older favorite CDs? Christmas music never goes out of style – no matter what era it came from.

O – Others: Worrying about how everything is supposed to look, or be, or taste, or trying to impress others will steal your joy. Think of others first, what they are bringing to the table (more than food) by their personalities, their stories, even their struggles.

Getting together is all about connection and getting to know each other in a more intimate way. We need each other, especially during the holidays when it can be lonely and depressing for many.

Y – Yourself: You have to think of yourself. Plan ahead with a simple party outfit, shoes, necklace, even red lipstick. Getting yourself ready for the guests, and feeling good about yourself, means you care about the party that is about to take place.

You’ve spent time preparing and making sure your guests will be fed and comfortable and happy, so adding a little bit of sparkle and cheer to your appearance sets the tone as you meet the guests at the front door, with a big holiday hug and smile!

There you have it. Think of a simple party to host, make the invite, and keep things simple so your joy isn’t wrecked. Don’t forget the music, others, and getting yourself ready.

You’re now set to host a beautiful, joyful holiday party!

What stops you from opening your home during the holidays?