One question that I get asked over and over again is “Doesn’t entertaining stress you out?” When I first started Mirabelle Creations, the answer to that questions was “Yes!” But, I quickly realized I was spending way too much time on things that really weren’t that important – like making the cake look absolutely perfect or getting the flower arrangements just so. It took me a while to realize the most important thing about entertaining: it’s not how everything looked that people will remember, it’s the way you made them feel.
Entertaining really does come down to that simple truth. Family and friends are not going to remember how great the food looked or whether the floors looked freshly mopped. Even if everything looks picture perfect, your guests are going to remember how welcomed they were into your home, Once I started entertaining with that one principle in mind, it allowed me to let go of some of the little things that were stressing me out.
I definitely lean a little more to the introverted side. As a more introverted person, welcoming people into my home with open arms doesn’t always come naturally to me. But feeling prepared beforehand allows me to focus and simply love on our guests. During the holidays, we open our home to numerous friends and family. With just a little planning, however, entertaining is enjoyable and I can focus on my guests and making them feel welcomed. Here are a few tips that I use for hosting with ease during the holidays:
5 General Tips for Hosting
- Do all pre-entertaining cleaning in the days before guests arrive.
- Leave plenty of time to get yourself ready. (My kids say, “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good.” Okay – that might be a sports thing, but it still applies here!)
- Make guests immediately feel welcomed by greeting each of them at the door.
- Introduce guests, then mingle, frequently checking on guests.
- Smile! Unexpected issues can arise, but if you smile and keep your cool, guests will feel more comfortable.
Ideas for Hosting Holiday Parties
This holiday season, you may be planning one or more holiday parties at your home. The key to hosting a successful party is the preparation. Following these ideas will allow you to be organized so you can have fun at your own party:
- Make a plan. Several days before the party, make a list of all the tasks you need to complete and a timeline for completion. Having a plan of attack will reduce stress the day of the party.
- Set out a self-serve drink & dessert bar. Set up a drink table stocked with soda, water, beer, wine, and other drinks. Allowing guests an easy way to serve themselves guarantees that you won’t be playing bartender.
Dessert tables are also great additions to parties because you can set out your desserts before the party. When guests are ready for dessert, they can just help themselves. And, guests love walking into a party and seeing a dessert table. It always makes a party feel extra special!
- Prep the Food. When planning the party food, choose items that can be prepared beforehand. Keeping prepared snacks, such as gourmet cheese, on hand also helps if your food runs low.
- Don’t let guests leave empty-handed. Give all guests a small favor, such as a homemade cookie mix in a jar or chocolates, as they leave. They’ll love the small reminder of a great evening!
Ideas for Hosting Overnight Guests
The holidays can also often mean overnight guests. Paying attention to simple details helps your overnight guests feel right at home. Here are a few ideas to ensure your guests are relaxed:
- Provide extra toiletries. Gather toiletries, such as shampoo, soap, lotion, razors, and toothbrushes, in case guests forget something. Place all items in a pretty basket in the guest room, where guests can easily access it.
- Make needed items easy to find. Guests may be the first ones up in the morning, so make it easy for them to find what they need. Set out towels, tea and coffee, and breakfast goodies where they will see them.
- Add that extra touch. An inexpensive bouquet of flowers or a candle will add a luxurious touch for your guests. Anything that makes them feel more at home will be appreciated.
I hope that these holiday entertaining tips with help make holiday entertaining a piece of cake, so you can truly enjoy the most wonderful time of the year! And, if all else fails, just love on your guests as much as possible. That will truly trump everything else you do!