I went to my first Christmas party of the season the other night. It was honestly such fun and I met several people who I’m looking forward to getting to know better. The host and hostess certainly knew how to throw a fantastic party. They were relaxed, comfortable and everyone there had an amazing time. Here are some basic rules about hosting a party, whether you live in ranch housing or a mansion on the hill!
Be Prepared For Early Guests There will always be one or two guests who arrive earlier than you expect. Be prepared at least 15 minutes ahead of time. The point is to visit with your guests and enjoy their company, you don’t want to send them away while you finish things up in the kitchen.
Play Music Always have music playing in the background. At the beginning of a party it sometimes helps to have it turned up a little louder than usual. I like to have a mix of different CDs ready and always have music playing before the guests arrive. It helps to break the ice and can even get people to talking a bit more. As your party goes on, you can turn it down.
Turn The Heat Up It helps to turn the heat up a tad when you’re hosting a get together. Start a fire, light the candles and turn the thermostat up. Nothing is so uncomfortable as trying not to shiver in front of your hosts.
Offer Your Guests Something To Drink As Soon As They Arrive Pay attention to your guests! I was at a cocktail party a few weeks ago where I wasn’t offered anything to drink for about 15 minutes. It made me feel like I wasn't very welcome. As soon as your guests arrive, greet them, tell them you’re glad they could make it, take their coat and offer them a drink. And make sure you keep it refilled.
Introduce Your Guests Introduce people who don’t know each other. Offer some information to your guests when you introduce them so they have more than just a name to start talking about. For instance, “Greg, this is Linda. She runs marathons in her spare time! Linda, Greg is a team roping champion!”
Get them talking and always check on the wallflowers. Don’t just talk to the people you know the best, make sure you visit with each and every guest. If you notice someone by themselves and not talking to anyone else, go sit with them and try to draw them out.
Have Enough Food Make sure you have more than enough food! I’m sure everyone has been the guest at a party where there was just enough food for everyone present and not a bite more. I have and it was uncomfortable feeling like I couldn’t eat what I wanted in case someone else didn’t get enough! That’s not fun, and a party is supposed to be fun! Hors d’oeuvres are basically pretty easy to assemble ahead of time and will easily look elegant with just a little arranging on your part. Cheese and crackers, cured meats, sliced veggies, dip, cold shrimp and cocktail sauce, hot artichoke dip, brie cheese….the list goes on and on! One thing, never try out a new recipe untested on guests! The point is for them to feel comfortable and relaxed, not gagging from a dish gone wrong.
Safety Proof Your Home Safety proof your home before your guests arrive. If you’re a gun owner like I am, make sure all your guns are unloaded and locked up from the reach of children or people who may not be used to being around guns. If small children will be present, make sure all breakables are up out of reach and stairwells are partitioned off. Elderly guests will not be used to your floors or the layout of your home, so make sure steps are well light and rugs that they could possibly trip over are out of the way.
Take Time To Freshen Up Change out of your "slopping-around-the-house-clothes" and dress up a tad. Run a comb through your hair, swipe on an extra layer of lipstick and put on a clean shirt. If you look messy and frazzled when your guests arrive, it might make them feel guilty or uncomfortable that you working too hard on their account. Take a deep breath, pour yourself a drink and go enjoy the fruits of your labor and the company of your guests!
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xo xo Elizabeth