Perhaps it’s your first time living away from home and you want to be the one to host the holiday family gatherings, or you’ve been doing it for years and just want to switch things up a bit. No matter who you are, what’s your hosting experience and whom you’re hosting, here are some foolproof tips that will help you make this holiday season unforgettable.
Make sure you’re prepared for it
Taking on the responsibility of hosting can be exciting and you might take it on without a second thought. However, there’s a lot of time, effort and money that goes into being a host. It can bring on stress and sometimes even drain you financially. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t host at all. If you’re ready to invest the time, you can have everyone attending pitch in by either bringing a dish or paying for their share. However, the process of organizing, decorating, scheduling and everything else is still on you, so be prepared for it or find someone who will share that responsibility with you. It’s the holidays, and you don’t want to spend the day stressed. It’s not a bad idea to have someone else who will help with entertainment and organization during the dinner, so you’re not spending the evening on your feet instead of enjoying time with your guests.
Know your guests
Bespoke hosting might sound a bit over-the-top, but if you really want your guests to have a great experience, you can’t just make a “one-size-fits-all” dinner and guess it will fit everyone. For starters, you want to know if anyone has any dietary restrictions. If they do, you don’t have to adapt every meal to them, but make sure there’s a variety of dishes that they can enjoy. Also, if people are all bringing dishes, make sure you organize a few people and make sure their dishes are compliant with the diet. If you’re organizing catering, this will be valuable information, and companies that do catering in Sydney and other big cities know how to adapt to any dietary needs. Secondly, know if there’s anyone coming with kids. That means you need to kid-proof that area of the home and organize something to entertain the kids, and perhaps arrange a sleeping/changing area if they are coming with babies. If anyone has some walking issues or are in a wheelchair, make sure there’s a space they can comfortably go through, instead of having to squeeze between tables. These little things will make everyone feel exceptional.
Nobody likes a stressed and irritated host. Even if you think that it’s not important how you feel and whether you have fun, as long as your guests are having a good time – you being stressed and nervous will make them feel bad. They will start to feel guilty for just being there and might feel uncomfortable with you hovering, instead of enjoying the meal with them. So just – chill out. Nobody will care if something isn’t perfect, if you run out of ice or if the turkey is slightly overcooked. As long as everyone is happy and having a good time, people will love it.
Pay attention to all of your guests
Nobody wants to feel lonely in a room full of people. But if there’s someone there who doesn’t know everyone else, or is just very shy, make an effort to talk to them. Perhaps in private, if they don’t like sharing in front of a group, but still talk to them. Go around the table and ask every person about what’s going on in their life and make a connection. That way, everyone will feel like you care about them, and that’s what the holidays are all about. Also, make sure you introduce people to each other if you have a mixed group.
Being a great host isn’t about spending days in the kitchen making the perfect meal or scrubbing your floors until they shine – it’s about making every person who walks through your doors that night feel like they’re family. It’s about making people comfortable and like they belong, so if you manage to do that – you’re gonna be the best host they could ask for.