The holidays are the best time to entertain or be entertained by close friends and loved ones with your best – your best recipes, your best behavior, your best wine recommendations, your best outfits. But in the chaos of holiday planning, we often forget is that it is the little things that really can matter the most. Here are a few of my best ‘little things’ to remember:
- If you are hosting guests, keep in mind the proper host(ess) etiquette. The most important part of hosting may be the organizing part, but it certainly doesn’t mean DOING everything. This is a lesson I’ve had to learn over the years. Your guests are there to spend time and commune together with you, not without you while you remain stuck in the kitchen barking orders at your spouse and
swearingsweating over a burnt side dish.
- Prepare a playlist of music that will help keep the spirit warm throughout the occasion. Remember that if your Aunt Louise hates ‘that rap music,’ you should probably steer clear of the hip hop playlist and artists on your iPod. Instead, select those songs that you love to hear while on ‘hold’ on a call and make you start humming (or full-on karaoke singing at your desk – not that I would know). It’s hard to beat songs from the 50s and 60s, and there’s always the slew of ‘adult contemporary’ from the 70s and 80s. Oh and one more thing: the music should be used as background music, not to drown out your snoring uncle or the football game on TV.
Here’s a sample playlist that I put together to help inspire yours:
- One of my best tips for hosting holidays is to pre-plan and buy extra tin foil and leftover plastic containers to hand out to your family and friends after the huge meal. Every host bemoans the Pyrex or Rubbermaid (or if you’re lucky enough to be the awesome owner of classic forever-lasting Tupperware!) that they lose here or there as a result of parting gifts, so buy some Ziploc or other containers as a part of your prep that you won’t mind never seeing again. Handing out leftovers of course helps alleviate a lot of clean up and fridge or freezer storage space, and also allows your guests the opportunity to enjoy those next-day turkey sandwiches too. Or perhaps you really don’t want the temptation to finish a whole or half of the leftover dessert in the house, so definitely send pieces home with your guests. They may love not needing to worry about cooking much the next day, and may quietly wish they could have had more of that delicious dressing anyway.
- One last small hosting tip to consider is at the very least, right before mealtime, place the dog(s)/cat(s)/pet(s) in a separate room so that they don’t disturb the guests. Even if your guests don’t mind the pet(s), putting your furry children in a separate room temporarily will also keep them from drooling over the food, and keep them from feeling the disappointment of not getting any turkey or gravy. And all can be a little more peaceful without a begging snout staring your guests down, weakening them to guilt through their sweet “look how cute and starving I am, my owners never feed me” face.
Check out Apartment Therapy’s recent reminders as well to help you…
- The best holidays guests also remember a few small important things. One of the biggest tips that shows your true appreciation for all of the hard work and resources your host put in is a small gift. There are the classic suggestions, such as a great bottle of wine, a scented candle or a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers. But why not show your sincere appreciation with a small personal handmade gift? Don’t kill yourself (or your bank account) creating these small tokens of appreciation, but a little thought and creativity speak volumes about your own etiquette and gratitude. Make a trip to your nearby bargain store (ie. 99 store), purchase cellophane paper, small individual tins or containers, some ribbon and name tags or placecards, and bake some homemade cookies or personal size cakes? It’s that personal touch that always makes the holidays all the more memorable.
- Even though this may be an obvious tip, it is quite often ignored or disregarded because the holidays are chaotic… but offering to help with something small – and then actually doing it – is (almost) always appreciated. This doesn’t have to be offering to finish making the sabayon or chocolate soufflé. But if you see that the trash needs to be taken out as you try to throw away a cup, or if everyone has finished their meal, why not help collect the dirty plates. Your host will certainly at least appreciate the gesture, and it will allow everyone more cocktail time!
- Finally, the last guest tips may be obvious, but are great to remember as well. Just because our gadgets allow total accessibility nearly all moments of all 24 hours of every day, this certainly doesn’t mean we should spend more time staring at our cell phones, texting others or Facebooking (regardless of whether or not you like your fellow guests or family members). Bad guest behaviors also include spending the entire day in front of the TV watching football. As tempting as this may be, you certainly don’t want your host to think your only purpose for attending is to use them for their food, drink and TV. Mingling with other guests will almost always make for a more enjoyable evening, especially when adult beverages are involved. Or better yet, ask the host if they mind firing up their Xbox Kinect or Wii if they have one, and laugh with everyone else while you attempt to dance off some of your dinner.
What are your best hosting and guest reminders and tips??
The biggest reminder of all: have a Belle & Happy Thankgiving!
– La Belle Hibou