Tips to enjoy hosting a holiday event...
It is the time of the year for holiday events! You may be just attending this year, but I know many of you will be hosting your own events as well. When you are a perfectionist, like me, parties can be very overwhelming and stressful, but I think it is important to remember why you are hosting the event in order to fully enjoy yourself while being a good hostess. Nick and I essentially threw a Friendsgiving (we called it something different but that's what it was) at our house Sunday night so I wanted to share my experience along with some tips.
My husband and I did not get to have our (supposed to be annual) "Halloween Pratty" this year so we were anxious to have friends over for a get together! We like to entertain and haven't done so in a while so we landed on hosting our first "Chrismagiving" as we called it. Because it was after Thanksgiving and before Christmas festivities begin, we named it Chrismagiving: basically a friendsgiving wearing Christmas sweaters!
We have a small house. My dining room is literally an eat in kitchen pictured above which means I can have 4-6 people over for dinner! 18 people ended up RSVP'ing to dinner which created a fun challenge for me! I wanted the dinner to be as homey as possible, but I felt like we were all going to have to be spread out in order for everyone to have a seat! I really wanted to have a long, family style table so all of us could sit together and have great conversation during the dinner. I was determined!
The only thing I could do is set up pop up tables in the living room and try to make them look as festive as possible! Luckily, per usual, Home Goods helped to save the day. I bought a table cloth, table runner, garland and candles and did my best to make the table look inviting and comfortable for everyone to sit!
I took some photos quickly before guests arrived so these aren't perfect, but I wanted to share!
I share this to say that I typically have to make sure everything looks ABSOLUTELY perfect or else no one is going to have fun or think I'm a good hostess but that is not the case at all. Everyone loved sitting together in my living room. We were squished together in a tight space but we all got along so well and enjoyed each other's company. It could not have gone more smoothly.
Having said that, I have a few tips to help make your holiday hosting event as enjoyable as possible - for you!
1. Don't try to be perfect.
Let it happen! If everything doesn't come together as perfectly as you pictured it, don't let that ruin your night. Honestly when your true friends come to your house, they aren't there to look around and make sure you don't have any dust on your floor or to make sure your table cloth doesn't have a crease in it. They come because they love you and enjoy your company.
Nick and I always find some sort of mini project to do on the house before every event that we have. This time, we noticed a door in our house had hand prints on it (and pretty sure it had never been painted by Nick's old roommate - you know who you are 😂) so Nick took it off it's hinges, took the knob off and took it to the garage to paint it. The day of the party we ran into an issue with the knob that took time away from getting ready. Would people have really noticed that door? Probably not...
2. Don't just serve, socialize!
Yes, being a good hostess involves serving your guests, making sure that everyone has a drink, there's a hand towel in the bathroom, everyone knows where the rest room is and where to put their coats, but your friends are there to see you. You will enjoy your party so much more if you take the time to sit with each of your guests and talk with them. This is so much more important than clearing the table. I know - that's a huge "no, no" but I'm serious.
I left all of the dishes out until the party was completely over. When everyone left, we cleaned up (well not everyone, Nicks friend Jimmy helped us clean!). Normally I wouldn't be able to enjoy myself until the kitchen was spotless, but I pushed it from my mind and got to really spend time with each person before they had to leave.
3. Plan ahead of time.
No brainer, obviously, but in order to truly enjoy your dinner, plan ahead of time so you don't have to stress about things last minute. No, I'm not contradicting myself because I'm not saying perfection is achievable. I'm saying to do what you can early. Grocery shop early, prepare your casserole early, lay out your clothes early, start getting ready early... do the little things you can to prepare so you aren't throwing things together at the last minute in a mad rush!
4. Keep it simple
Make everything you can as easy as possible for your guests. Where does the line start? Where are beverages? Which one is unsweet? Try to make these things obvious to people. Why? This way you spend less time answering all of these questions for everyone and more time getting to be a guest at your own party.
5. Modify the guest list as necessary
Listen, your guest list is not something to be taken lightly... this piece of the puzzle should be taken into careful consideration. No, don't be mean and intentionally leave someone off to prove a point. Don't be petty. Don't hurt people's feelings. I'm a very inclusive person, I would invite everyone and their moms to the party if my house would hold them (the house is truly why our guest list was the size that it was), but include people who have your best interest at heart. Include people who truly care about you (not that you put the fork on the wrong side of the plate). This sounds like a huge "duh," but sometimes society makes your guest list longer than it needs to be. Everyone has a different set of circumstances but a bad vibe can ruin the evening not only for you, but for all of your guests too.
That being said, Nick and I are truly thankful for each and every person we were able to include. I was super sad that I couldn't include more of the people that I love. We are blessed with some extremely great family and friends and I spent the last couple of days thinking about how perfectly everything went because of the people we have on our lives.
Although things didn't actually go perfectly... one of my kitchen drawers broke out of no where for no apparent reason right as the party began?? Whyyyyy??
My mom and sister are probably reading this thinking it must have been written by someone else. They know I am a perfectionist so I am writing this to myself as much as I am to anyone! Don't let being particular keep you from cherishing moments with your besties! I have a coffee table book called "A Perfectly Kept House is a Sign of a Misspent Life". While I don't agree with this 100% (because I love keeping my house as perfectly kept as possible), I do see the point. It's ironic that this sits in my living room! I can truly say that this dinner was the first time at an event hosted by me that I truly let go and enjoyed myself instead of being a neat freak and I am so glad that I did!! I share this so hopefully you can too.
Where are my perfectionists at?? Do you think you can apply any of these to you? 💜 Comment your thoughts on all of this below!!
Interior designer inspired by color, nature, and texture. I love sharing my projects with you. Please have a look around and keep in touch by subscribing.