As the holiday season slowly settles in, it’s time to begin thinking about how to plan and execute the holiday get-togethers you might have in your home. The hallmark of a good host is how happy the guests are when they leave.
Hospitality is an art form that, when done correctly, makes guests comfortable and creates a happy and relaxed environment. A well-planned and expertly executed party can make everyone feel warm and welcome and can create lasting memories. These five tips will help you perfect the art of hospitality, allowing you to throw fabulous holiday celebrations for friends and family!
1. Choose the Vibe
Whether you’re aiming to host a glam sit-down dinner party or simply would like a casual night of pizza and a game of charades, choose the mood beforehand and give your guests a heads up so they’re mentally (and physically) prepared for the night. This is especially helpful for your guests when it comes to choosing what to wear. As we all know from experience, nothing is worse than showing up to a fancy dinner party in jeans and flip-flops because you didn’t get the memo!
2. Clean Up!
Before your guests arrive, be sure that your place is sparkling! Guests always appreciate a clean space. If possible, clean your home using products that avoid harsh chemicals and help out the environment, like a high-quality microfiber product, which can clean to a sparkling finish using only water!
3. Pamper Your Guests
The second your guests walk through the door, be sure to make them feel at home. Take their coats, serve them a refreshment and introduce them to any guests they don’t yet know. Check in on each guest often to be sure that they’re comfortable and having a good time.
4. Keep the Refreshments Flowing
It’s better to have leftover refreshments after a party than to run out of them before the end of a party. Nothing ruins a party faster than running out of food or drinks. Also, be sure that you’re keeping an eye on guests’ glasses and plates and offering to refresh them when they’re running low.
5. Clear, but Don’t Clean
Clearing areas of trash and empty dishes and cups so there’s no clutter is OK, but avoid doing any deep cleaning like washing dishes while your guests are still enjoying themselves. They’ll feel as if you’re giving them the signal that it’s time for them to leave. A better way to signal that the night is winding down without offending your guests is to serve coffee or tea.
I also refuse offers to help clean up! I will walk away from the dirty dishes and kitchen to sit with our guests. There have been times that we have been doing the dishes & clean up at 2 am! We have also left everything until the morning!
I’m with you Kimberley, I don’t let me guests help with dishes either. Instead I’ll leave them sit so I can enjoy their company instead.
Very great points! I would have never thought of some of these!! Thank you
I like to have a souvenir of the evening – sometimes at Christmas it’s a simple wooden ornament they can color with markers – or other times it’s a bookmark with a reflection of the theme for the event. Example: “Since we’re neighbors, let’s be friends!”
Great idea! Thanks for sharing, Linda!
Great simple reminders! Thank you.
I often say ” they’ll be done by the time you get home” if a guest in being persistent to start dishes..
I don’t agree with #5. I do clean the table and kitchen when they are here. But I generally clean up as I go along with the cooking and preparation. So It’s not a huge pile. I want the table to be clean, so we can sit around an play a game. Some of them think that they need to help clean up, but the way we do it, there’s so little to do afterwards, it’s less than 5 minutes and things are ready for the next activity.
Thanks for the tips. I’d say it totally depends on the guests though, I’ve had great conversations with guests while doing dishes together and they felt better knowing I don’t have to stay up late cleaning up when they’re gone.
I often get stressed about holiday gatherings. Thanks for the helpful reminders of how I can be a better hostess!
When guests attend a party where the hostess is too busy to significantly interact with everyone, they don’t feel welcome, even if they are.
If its a party where there are teenagers (along with adults), sometimes I’ll have a “getting to know you” page handed to each of them, with questions like “Find the person who came the farthest to get here tonight,” or “Who do you think has the prettiest smile tonight,” then have them get the person whom they think fits that description to sign by the question. It helps to cut down on the awkwardness and relax.
For children, its fun to start with a scavenger hunt — great for family parties where the adults want to visit and to help avoid boredom setting in with the younger set.
As a guest I always help with picking up etc. even if they say I do not need to.:)
Great tips! It seems like hosting a party is becoming a lost art form these days!