Jaimie Christiansen, contributing writer

The holiday season is in full swing. You may feel jolly as holiday tunes play in the background, but stress could set in quickly as you prepare for a houseful of people to arrive. Whether it’s an office party, neighborhood gathering, or a reunion with extended family, planning a party can be a lot of work. Here are three things to consider regarding catering:

Food that dazzles

Event food preparation is time-consuming and messy, and can be stressful. By hiring a caterer you can avoid all of that and still get what you want.

“People love food,” Justin Hamilton, owner of Off-Premise Catering, said. “They love fancy presentation; they even like watching it be prepared. If you choose, the food, and food preparation, can become part of an event’s entertainment.”

Justin says catering can range from a full course sit-down meal at a restaurant or event center, to a chef’s presentation in your home, or a main dish in a throwaway tin pan.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it isn’t a cop-out.

“People assume that catering is very expensive,” Justin said. “While it can be, it can also be very inexpensive. Most caterers can work around your budget.

“You set your expectations with the caterer and you will likely be surprised that they can not only meet those expectations, but also surpass them,” Justin said.

It isn’t a cop-out either. You are still in charge of your event; you just have some “elves” to help you make your event run smoothly, with less stress.

You can enjoy your party

Without help, between party preparation and party clean up, you may miss out on enjoying the event completely. Caterers can help with everything from simple food service to clean up, so you can sit back and enjoy the time with your guests and end the night with a kitchen that looks like there was no party at all.