Between October and February, there is something we all know as the holiday season. There are so many holidays around the world during this time, and there is almost always something going on at somebody’s house. Going to a family member’s house is always the best, you don’t have to prepare anything. Just show up, be the life of the party, and fake an early start to go home early. Perfect. What happens when you finally get that house and your mother volunteers you to host, or worse, you get a partner who wants to host all the holiday parties? Don’t panic. Hosting a party is part of becoming an adult. Hosting a successful family get together is a part of becoming a successful adult.
Now, to host a proper get together, you should first consider what kind of gathering you want. Is this going to be a friends only event, a family get together, or a work social? Each of them requires a different atmosphere to make your guest feel the most welcome. There are differences ranging from decorating, to cuisine, to general atmosphere and tone. Making your house or apartment ready depends most on what kind of gathering you are planning.
Food for Thought
Picking a menu for a work function depends on how long you wish your guests to stay. If you want to make a great first impression, it’s best to start strong, but leave room for improvement. Having a wine and cheese party for work associates is a great way to break the ice without obligating anyone to stay long enough to regret coming. Making wine and finger foods the focus of your gathering makes it so that there is a graceful way to end the party. No more food, party is over. Drinking wine keeps it classy. Having a well-planned, shorter event makes for a successful gathering. Save the work cookouts for your 5+ year gathering. That way you have something to build to, and by then, you will have a better idea of your coworkers’ culinary needs. Having a themed food gathering helps gather feedback. Food restrictions are important to note for future gatherings and preferences help when greasing elbows. When decorating for a work function, it’s important to keep in mind the occasion, in this case, the holidays, and decorate as if you were decorating a high-end hotel. Keep the decorations subtle but still thematic. There’s nothing wrong with having a Macy’s display in your entrance, but if it’s a work environment, you want to keep the decorations PC. Play the music under a conversation level, and keep to something instrumental. Every little bit adds up to a good experience and great impressions.
Anticipate their Comfort Needs
The holidays have become a time to gather for family as well as friends. From themed Halloween parties, Friendsgiving, ugly sweater parties, to just getting together because it’s winter break and your friend is in town. There are times when you just want to throw a party with just your group of 10 or so odd friends. You want to do things you wouldn’t want your mom to see, not in person, but through social media. In any case, to make your guest feel the most at home, you should prepare more than just the drinking essentials. Set aside time to prepare two things. A place to crash, and a clean bathroom. I know what you’re thinking. Why clean a bathroom if it’s going to be immediately destroyed? Well, for starters, it shows that you are responsible. Plus, if you show pride in your bathroom, there’s a chance your friends might take more care in taking care of their business. If the toilet paper is hiding, and your guest panics, don’t have your guest suffer a Ben Stiller moment. (If you haven’t seen Along Came Polly, just take an hour and you’ll see). Having a well-stocked, clean bathroom, above all else, shows that you thought of everything. You were courteous to your guests most basic need. If you don’t have an extra pillow or comforter, now would be the time to invest. There’s always that one friend who doesn’t plan well, and although they drove there, they shouldn’t be driving home. While there are many rideshare options, they might not be willing to pay the surge prices, hence why they drove. A good host will have thought of the inevitable. Having a couch, a spare room, or even an extra pillow and comforter for sleeping on the floor can make you a hero in the eyes of your sauced-up guest. Keep in mind, if they sleep on the floor, make sure it’s mostly clean, not just for your guest, but for your pillow and blanket. Bonus points if you leave a bottle of water and headache medicine next to them, and extra points if you find and plug in their phone so it’s fully charged when they get up.
A Welcoming Experience for Everyone
Winter break is when we see the most travel of all year. The number of flights and cars on the road are nothing compared to the rest of the year. It’s the most wonderful time to get together with family and loved ones. This year, you have taken on the ultimate task of entertaining your family. You might have to get some food together (or suggest a potluck) and maybe prepare a spare room or couch for them to sleep on (you will be sleeping on the couch, so hopefully you have a comfortable one.) What you should really be preparing for is ensuring everyone is having a good time. Having everyone there with nothing to do can get awkward. It doesn’t matter that you’ve known your Aunt Mildred from birth, if you don’t have anything in common, then she’s not going to have a good time. Besides food, there should be another highlight to the visit. Christmas has many games to look forward to. Opening a grab bag gift with oven mitts, a white elephant exchange, or even Christmas Movie trivia. You can always incorporate any classic party game with your get together, such as charades or 20 questions. The more guests involved, the longer the game, the less amount of games you need to prepare. Make sure your games bring on some sort of emotion, laughter, nostalgia, competition, anything but boredom. Most importantly, ALWAYS let your guests know if children are allowed or expected. Having to child-proof a home shows you respect your guest and want them to have a good time. If your holiday tree is covered in glass ornaments, your guest might spend the entire night stressing that their children be on their best behavior. Providing crayons and some paper, or a separate room with a kid’s movie goes a long way. Children are guests too, and an occupied child is a happy child and a happy guest. Not to mention, if there are activities planned, once they have been completed, everyone can take that as an opportune time to take their leave.
The best guidelines for any kind of get together, make sure there is sustenance, appropriate for the occasion. Next, would be to make sure your place is warm, clean and well stocked. Most importantly, have something for your guests to do, for every age group. They don’t have to be the same group activities, but the more inclusive, the better. For your next get together, you have the perfect recipe for success. The best way to make your home ready, is to make your guest the most at home, be it by eating, drinking and being merry.