While you’ve got weeks (or months) to go before getting to meet one particular bundle of joy, the winter holidays are almost here. They should be magical. Festive. Maybe even fun. But you have the whole family coming to your house: your in-laws, Aunt Ethel, Uncle Harry, five grandparents, and two cousins (oh, and their four kids). Playing host is never the easiest job. Add your growing belly bump and achy back and… well, you get it. As hard as it may be to believe, there’s no need to stress. Check out how you can change the game and turn hosting the holiday get-together into your absolute favorite time of the year — even while you’re preggo!

A family makes cookies together

1. Delegate duties. You’ve totally got this… kind of. Maybe. Even if you’re all about being super-mama, you can’t do it all — no one can. You’re eating, breathing, walking, and moving for two. That means you need breaks (and more than just once in a while). Start delegating: Ask your S.O., sibling, BFF, or whoever else is around to help out. All you need to do is ask. Your family and friends will want to help out the very pregnant lady.

2. Stay hydrated. With the moisture-sucking heat on full blast and all the running around you’re doing right now, you need to keep a bottle of water handy to keep your pregnant self topped up. Fill the bottle when you get started, then sip it as you cook, clean, and make sure your guests are completely cared for. Not only is this a healthy thing to do, but it will make you feel a zillion times better than you will without a regular dose of hydration.

3. Schedule shifts. Early mornings aren’t your best time. You’re kind of nauseated and are always super-tired. Step back and bow out of the morning shift. There’s no rule saying that you have to cook breakfast for the dozen visiting relatives. Your honey can take that shift, then tap out when it comes to lunchtime prep.

4. Keep snacks on deck. If you’re still in your first (or possibly early second) trimester, morning sickness may be making your holidays less jolly. Keep your tummy from rockin’ with a steady stream of available snacks. It doesn’t matter what you’re serving your guests or when you’re serving it: Keep yourself steady with crackers, string cheese, or plain toast.

A pregnant woman serves a holiday dinner to her family

5. Dress for success. This is definitely the year to skip anything that’s tight, constricting, or at all uncomfortable. There are plenty of maternity picks that are fab without making you feel like a mummy (the linen-wrapped kind, that is). Along with what you’re wearing over that growing bump, pay attention to your feet. Nix the binding high heels and go for something flat and completely comfy.

6. Tap an outdoor chef. Morning sickness can make those holiday meals less pleasant than you’re used to. The formerly sweet smell of turkey, ham, and other meats suddenly has you gagging. Instead of making yourself sick by cooking for your guests, pick a main course that will grill up perfectly outside. Ask your S.O. (or another family member or friend) to play the role of master griller. Yes, it’s cold, but that fire will warm up the cook (and a hot bev could sweeten the deal). And, bonus, you won’t feel sick from the smell.

7. Set aside “me” time. The holidays are family time… but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a few moments (or a few more) for yourself. Skip the late-night Santa-watching and take a bath, or say goodnight extra-early and snuggle up in bed.

8. Take your time. The holidays aren’t a sprint: They’re a marathon. Take a moment, take a breath, and take your time. Getting a five-course meal out, wrapping a zillion presents, and keeping your holiday home looking neat and tidy doesn’t all have to happen simultaneously. Give yourself as much time as you need right now. It will help you to relax, de-stress, and actually enjoy the festivities!

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(Photos via Getty)