The holidays are my favorite time of year, one – because I love the colors, the decorations, even the smell of the air, and two – because I love having people over and hosting big dinners. However I know that most people aren’t like me and the thought of hosting friends and/or family for the holidays can be daunting. But don’t worry, I’m here to give you the best tips for how to be an organized hostess, tips that I promise work, because I’ve used them for years!
#1 Be YOU
The first thing that’s important to remember is to be YOU. Your house doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to apologize over and over again if it’s not! Your friends come over to see you, not your house, and I guarantee they aren’t judging you because their house probably looks the same (or worse!). Just be yourself and enjoy your time with your guests.
I actually love going to a friend’s house when it’s not perfect because that means they didn’t stress out about me coming over, it means they really just want to hang out with me. Being yourself is important, embrace who you are, whether your house is perfectly clean or not!
#2 Quick clean up tips
A lived-in looking house, is to be expected, but a dirty bathroom is just gross. If you only have a few minutes before your guests are stopping by, head to the bathroom and give it a quick cleaning.
- Us the current hand towel to wipe off mirrors and wipe up the sink
- Grab a sanitizing cloth and wipe down the toilet
- Clean up hair, dust, etc.
- Empty trash
- Set out a new hand towel
#3 Timing is everything
Think about the timing of your meal. Don’t wait until your guests arrive to start making dinner (because everyone will be starving by the time it’s done) but also don’t have it sitting out getting cold when they first get there. Plan ahead so that whatever you’re going to serve for dinner, has about 10-15 minutes left to cook when your guests arrive. That 10-15 minutes is the perfect amount of time for them to get settled in, grab a glass of wine, nibble on the snacks you set out for them, and start into a good conversation.
It might make you feel unprepared to still be cooking when your guests arrive but when I started doing this I noticed that our guests felt more relaxed and they seemed to enjoy themselves more. I learned that having everything sitting on the table waiting for them mad them feel rushed, like they were late and had been holding us up, and that’s definitely not how the night should start out.
#4 Make your guests feel welcomed
When your guests arrive always offer them something to drink. Set out a tray with a pitcher of water, some glasses, lemons if you have them, and even a few snacks.
Or if you want to fancy it up a bit, set out a couple bottles of wine and offer them a glass once they are settled. Guests also love it when you set out a small platter with crackers, cheese, or other appetizer type foods.
Having food and beverages set out for your guests when they arrive will make them feel special because they will know you were thinking about them before they arrived.
#5 Let your guests help
Does that make you gasp and your stomach churn a little? If it does then you’re exactly like I am. I hate letting my guests help because when I have people over I want to serve them, not the other way around! But after many years of hostessing, all kinds of events, I’ve learned a very valuable lesson, your guests want to help. About 1/2 the time we host, our guests won’t offer to help – which is more than okay with me, but the other 1/2 of the time, they offer.
Typically people won’t offer to help, unless they really want to, so why deprive them of their kindness, and willingness to help? I’ve learned that when I let my guest help, they really enjoy themselves and it ends up being a huge blessing to me, because it’s less for me to do at the end of the night!
These five tips will help you to be the best host ever! Meal planning and a little prep work will help too but the most important thing about hosting is to make your guests feel welcomed, loved and comfortable in your home. As long as you get these five things down, everything else will fall into place and you, and your guests, will have a great time!