How do you become a "host with the most?" Well, whether you are hosting a tailgate, BBQ or holiday party, we believe the best hosts are those who make their guests feel comfortable and relaxed by being comfortable and relaxed themselves. Preparing ahead of time, being organized, and enjoying some of the holiday cheer yourself will ensure guests will be comfortable enough to do the same.
Holiday hosting hacks for a happy host
Hosting Hack No. 1: Prepare, prepare, prepare!
Preparation is the key to good hosting so you can spend time with your guests instead of with your stove top. Cook what you can ahead of time, and chop, slice, dice, and prepare anything you can’t. Simplify buffet preparation by marking trays, bowls, and platters with notes of what dish goes where, what time it needs to go in the oven/on the table and what it is served with. Not only will this help you visualize the display, but it will also allow you to enlist the help of others to pop items in the oven or transfer the food from pots and pans to the correct bowls.
Hosting Hack No. 2: Pick the right food.
Stick with easy, delicious, and proven recipes. If people always compliment your meatballs or dip--no matter how simple--now is the time to break it out! A holiday party is NOT the time to experiment with a six-page recipe! Simple, delicious finger foods will keep you out of the kitchen and part of the party. Plus, finger foods keep serving ware and utensils at a minimum, helping with overall clean up afterward.
And speaking of food, here are a few Steakhouse Elite party favorites:
Hosting Hack No. 3: Organize.
Decide ahead of time where guests will put their purses, coats, and other personal items. Assure there is room for leftovers in the fridge. Find the bottle openers. Make sure there is ice. Empty the garbage cans and put them out for guests to use. Make sure there is extra toilet paper in the bathroom. Anything you can do now to prepare and organize ahead of time will help you navigate through your guests without getting stopped dozens of time to answer questions like "where is the garbage?"
Hosting Hack No. 4: Mix up your guest list.
A good party has a mix of guests: couples, singles, old friends, new friends, work friends, friends from the gym, older individuals, and young ones, too! A good mix keeps things fun and interesting, just be sure to introduce everyone so no one feels like an outsider. And about kids...kid-friendly parties are at the sole discretion of the host, but if you choose to make it an adult-only occasion, be clear on the invite (and address parents with infants who might think they don't apply). If kids are allowed--that's great! But set up a place for the kids to be and establish any limits or rules ahead of time.
Hosting Hack No. 5: Create the mood.
Put on your favorite party music, enjoy a glass of wine, light the candles, and dress up! All of this will contribute to the overall mood and atmosphere of the party. The guests will follow your lead for a more enjoyable time.
Hosting Hack No. 6: Create independent guests.
Having independent guests helps the host have a good time, so be sure to show them where they can serve up their own beverages and food, and introduce them to the other guests so you can spend your time mingling instead of pouring a glass of champagne or serving food. Setting up a beverage station can also help guests feel comfortable pouring their own drinks. A general rule is to get your guests their first glass and then let them know to help themselves moving forward.
Hosting Hack No. 7: Trade out the good stemware.
Too much holiday cheer can leave your good crystal shattered. Minimize the damage with a preventative stash of cheap stemware (we promise that guests will gladly swap fancy stemware for a good host)--and try to cry over split wine.
Hosting Hack No. 8: Limit the cleanup.
Table cloths, paper and plastic utensils, and paper napkins all make cleaning up a snap. If this is too informal for your tastes, then at minimum be sure to clear away and any preparation dishes before the guests arrive so your left with less of a mess when they leave. Either way, whatever you do, don’t let the cleanup begin until after the guests leave--a good host is never distracted by a mess!
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