Now is the time of year that parties and big meals are a common occurrence. For some reason hosting for the holidays is a kind of rite of passage, one you’re likely pretty excited about, especially if this is your first year in a new home or with new family.
Let me first say, it’s totally normal to be a bit nervous, excited or even a twinge stressed. As a yearly host, I can tell you that I’ve made more than my fair of mistakes along the way. Eventually, you get it nailed down to a perfect science. In the meantime, here are a couple of tips and words of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way.
You Don't Have to Do Everything Yourself
I know it almost feels wrong to ask for help when you’re hosting, but I promise you’ll be glad you did. I’ve tried the do it all by yourself, you miss out on some great family time and memories by being so stubborn.
Whether it’s helping by bringing items, their favorite recipe, things you may have forgotten or throwing you a helping hand during the event, they mean well and have good intentions. If dad wants to take out the trash, let him. Siblings or cousins ask to help with dishes or clearing the table, let them!
If you’re hosting, you likely have some input on what your cooking (the menu), now’s the time to use that power for good. Some meals and dishes are easily and sometimes even better prepped and made ahead, but not all. Perfect example, we host Christmas morning brunch, not much can be prepped ahead for breakfast but anything I can, I will.
For everything that can’t be prepped early, you should take into consideration the bake times and temperatures. You’d ideally want dishes that must be baked at the same temperatures.
It’ll save you time and save your sanity.
You Aren't Martha Stewart
Regardless of what you may think or feel, nobody is expecting you to be the perfect chef, hostess and interior decorator. Your friends and family are there for good food and drinks with you.
Your food and drinks don’t have to look like they came out of a magazine to be delicious. They don’t have to be the most unique and over the top dishes either, sometimes simple is better.
Don’t worry if your utensils or plates don’t match, find a balance when setting things out. Use what you have to make it work, if you don’t bring it to their attention, they won’t notice and if they do, they likely won’t care.
I may love decorating for Christmas more than any other holiday. I just can’t help myself! Maybe it’s too much for some people and not enough for some, either way, it’s perfect for me and that’s all that matters at the end of the day!
Find a balance visually for your guests, but things don’t have to be perfect.
Did you run out of time to get things done? You forget to get fresh flowers or put out your great-grandmother’s fancy cake plates? It’s okay!
Now is not the time or place to try to show off a new recipe or try something new to impress your guests, I know you want to, trust me, I’ve done it. Stick to what you know and what you have mastered. The less unnecessary stress the better.
Remember to keep your expectations of the day in check, not everything will go exactly as you have planned. That’s normal. Adjust and move along!
Don't Let Hangry Happen
If you and your family is anything like me and mine, hangry is a real emotion. This goes back to the planning and prep part. Having simple finger foods and snacks readily available before everything else is very important.
Remember to take your eat time into consideration when planning. If you have lots of cooking to do, have your guests arrive when most of the cooking should be done. You don’t want a house full of guests that you can’t entertain because you’re up to your elbows in kitchen work. Plan to have some of your food done as they arrive and keep the food training going from there!
There's Never too Much TP
There are certain things that you can overlook running out of, toilet paper my friends is not one of them. Finding an open store, sending someone or going yourself in the middle of your gathering, all not ideal ways to spend your time. Buy extra, it’s not like it goes bad. You will eventually use it. I promise.
While you’re stocking up on TP, do the same with napkins, plastic cups and silverware, and bottled water.
Don't Sweat the Small stuff
Someone is going to spill something, knock something over, break something or if you’re really lucky, all of the above! There may be unwanted political talk, snappy people and who knows what else, take it all in stride. Keep your sense of humor patience – for the effort, you’ll survive with stories to tell later on. If that fails, consider downing another glass or 3 of wine.