Gathering our tribe of friends and family should be a time of CONNECTION not STRESS. Ahhhh but how often does it snowball into all kinds of crazy hustle and bustle? I don’t know about you, but I often go into Hostzilla mode when I feel the pressure of company coming. I am getting better as I get older, but I admittedly still get a bit STRESSED when thinking about everything that needs to be done before the people arrive.
So much of that stress can be alleviated with some planning and relaxation of expectations. I mean my guests really won’t notice how clean my baseboards are — I hope to keep them too busy eating and drinking to notice!
Here are some tips for enjoying your gathering!
PREPARE THE TABLE IN ADVANCE
If your party includes celebrating around the table, be sure that the table linens, place settings, napkins, etc. are all set prior to the arrival of the guests. I give this job to the kiddos and have released expectations of it looking as good as I want it to. “The kids set the table.” is often heard coming out of my mouth as we gather to sit…. just in case my friends are judging me for the disarray of the cutlery…. WHICH THEY ARE NOT.
FEEL COMFORTABLE ENLISTING HELP
Regardless of how well you plan and simplify your party, entertaining a large group of people is a lot of work! Pair up with a friend or a couple, or ask for the assistance of a teenager to lend a hand. You don’t need to do it all by yourself! Don’t hesitate to ask guests to lend a hand either. That is a hard one for me but you know people LIKE to help, so if someone offers to help – SAY YES! Pretty simple.
ADAPT YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Having one less appetizer to make or taking dessert off your plate will make your life so much easier and will make your guests feel welcome. Although you are hosting the party, you don’t have to cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’ on your list.
PREP PREP PREP
Make as much of the meal as possible in advance. Some recipes can be made entirely in advance and reheated before guests arrive; most can at least be partially prepped in advance (for instance, veggies washed and chopped).
DON’T BE CLEAN CRAZY
You do not have to clean the whole house every time people come over. Really. You don’t. Close bedroom doors and hide stuff in the closets. That may be bad advice for organizing, but it’s essential for busy hosts who need a quick clean!
SET THE LIGHTS
Want to set a warm and cozy mood? Turn off the overhead lights and turn on the lamps. This is the easiest way to create the perfect party ambience. Maybe even get a disco ball (kidding…sort of).
FINALLY, ENJOY YOUR COMPANY!
Don’t forget that as a host you get to enjoy your time at the party too! It’s a right! If you are busy flitting around cleaning up glasses and plates as the party goes on, your guests will not feel relaxed and will often feel obligated to jump in and help. Enjoy your own party and let clean up happen once the evening winds down (or… dare I say it… do it the next day!)