10 Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining
The Pilgrims did it. Congressmen and Senators do it. But 80% of the American population is afraid to do it.
What am I talking about? Hosting a party or gathering at your house.
In the past 15 years, I’ve hosted over 100 gatherings at my home. When I first started entertaining, I would worry about every little detail. But after awhile, I learned a few tricks to help make entertaining easier and less stressful.
Opening your home is one of the simplest things you can do to foster deep relationships with people. In an age of social media, smart phones and YouTube, it’s nice to get back to basics, real conversations and even a laugh or two.
Here are my Top 10 Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining
1. Make a plan. Take 20 minutes and make your guest list. If you are looking for an intimate gathering, try inviting three families. A bigger event, invite five or more. And remember themed parties are always fun.
2. Tailor the food to the size of the event. It’s easier to pull off a full meal with only seven people, it’s very hard with a group of 20. If the group is larger, think outside of the box. Have appetizers and wine, desserts only, cookies only, appetizers and dessert or sandwiches only party.
3. Delegate. Does your best friend make the most amazing cheesecake? Ask her to bring it. Have a friend that can’t cook their way out of a paper bag? Ask them to bring beverages.
4. If you can’t (or don’t want to) delegate, embrace the pre-made. Not a good baker, buy rolls. Can’t cook a turkey, buy one. Don’t make pies, buy Whole Foods pies. (Seriously, on the Whole Foods pies…I’ve NEVER had a better pie EVER. Best pumpkin and chocolate pecan pie out there.).
5. Rent your table lines, flatware and tableware from a rent-all store. If you don’t have enough dishes or silverware, consider renting. You’ll pay around $1.50 a place setting for dishes and silverware. The best part…you don’t have to do dishes! They expect them back dirty. Or considering using higher-end paper products.
6. Only spend 30 minutes cleaning before the party. Your house is going to get messy with extra people in it anyway. So just do the bare basics before having people come over. Declutter, spritz the bathroom, vacuum, make the beds and dust. If a room is a mess, shut the door. You can do a deep clean tomorrow.
7. Have a good selection of beverages. If you plan on having alcoholic beverages, serve a selection of beer and red and white wine. Otherwise, make sure to have flavored water, coffee and iced tea available.
8. Have activities for the kids. If your event includes kiddos, make sure to have an activity for them. This could be as simple as decorating cookies, a small craft or scavenger hunt. But trust me, without a plan, kids can derail a party.
9. Don’t be a servant. While making sure people’s needs are met or being a hostess is required, serving people is not. Everyone is a big boy or girl. If they want a second helping of food or drink, they can get it themselves.
10. Have fun. If you are stressed out, your guests will be stressed out. If you are in a party mood, so will your guests. And having everyone in a good mood means less drama if something doesn’t go quite right.
So what are you waiting for? Pick a day, make a list, and invite some of your friends over! It’s time to stop connecting on social media and start connecting in real life.