How To Successfully Plan for Holiday Visitors and Parties

Entertaining

Without fail, every time I plan any type of party my main focus goes straight to impressing my guests. I want everything to be perfect, which is unrealistic. Things will not always go according to plan. There are many times that I don’t even enjoy the party because the expectations I created were not met. If you’re like me planning holiday parties can be stressful and costly. I mention costly because often times I buy additional (unnecessary) items just to seem more impressive.

As I have come to realize this habit of mine, and with the holidays approaching I wanted to find ways to make entertaining easier. That’s when I discovered organizedhome.com. I found an article on their page that talks about making entertaining easy and enjoyable. I pulled a few things to share with you that really struck me. If you would like to read the full article I would recommend it.

The article can be found at http://organizedhome.com/kitchen-tips/party-time-four-steps-easy-entertaining

“Too often, we have strict notions about what constitutes hospitality. We think “dinner party” and fret about whether the towels match the shower curtain-and we miss the whole point of the effort.” Are you guilty of this? Maybe not making sure everything in the house matches, but worrying about things that really don’t matter. The whole point is having an enjoyable time with those you care about.

“What does “entertaining” mean to you? Take a moment, and think of what springs to mind. Do you worry about your lack of fine china and polished silver? Do you fret about the furniture? Do you thumb frantically through cookbooks and food magazines, looking for just the right recipes? Do you vow to bar the door to guests until you’ve cleaned the house from attic to cellar? Time for an attitude adjustment! All these concerns are irrelevant to true hospitality.” Wow, talk about a slap in the face. I’m definitely the type of person that doesn’t want any guests over unless my house is spotless. I wonder if that comes from how you’re raised. I grew up in a home where the house had to be clean at all times. Any thoughts on what causes this mindset?

Step One: “put the focus where it belongs: on the guests. It’s helpful to redefine your terms. Do you “entertain” or do you offer hospitality?

Those who entertain take aim on material things: house, food, dishes, decorations. They view each dinner party as a production that must be scheduled, coordinated and directed to perfection. The event takes place in a stage set of polished furniture, cleaned carpet and precisely-set tables. Too often, the “entertainer” is so stressed and exhausted by all the preparation that she doesn’t enjoy her own party! With this mindset, entertaining is a chore, to be done as infrequently as possible.

One who offers hospitality has a different focus: her guests. To her, hospitality is about sharing. Her home welcomes visitors and draws them into the warm family circle as treasured guests. Her values put people before floral centerpieces and ironed napkins. She may engage in as much preparation as the “entertainer,” but she knows that when a guest feels truly welcome, the state of the floors is unimportant.

Start by changing your mind. Will you offer hospitality this holiday season? Or will you stage entertainment? Resolve to put first things–your guests–first on your list. Armed with this mindset, you’ll avoid the perfectionist traps that stand ready to snare the entertainer.”

Step Two: “Do-ahead preparations will take the stress out of drop-in visitors, and free you to enjoy visits from unexpected guests. Purchase or prepare hospitality supplies: crackers, some good cheese (the smellier the better to deter grazing children) frozen cookies or slices of cake. Child-proof the latter by wrapping aluminum foil and labeling as “liver and onions” before you freeze!

Keep a stock of good tea bags and coffee on hand, and assemble a teapot, sugar bowl and creamer, and several good teacups in one spot. Invite your guests to join you in the kitchen as you swish about efficiently, assembling a welcoming snack! ”

Step Three: If you’re going to throw a holiday party, begin early. The busy holiday season is the very last time you want to experience pre-party chaos.

Try this 10-point holiday party game plan:

1-Set the date

2-Make a guest list

3-Get the word out early

4-Plan food & drink

5-Rehearse your recipes

6-Map your house (Decide what layout you will have for your party)

7-Make your house party friendly

8-Figure out how/when you’re going to get everything done. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.

9-Enjoy your party!

10-Handle mishaps with grace

Remember to have a Happy Holiday Season!