Celebrations are an integral part of marking the December holidays and they come when we need them the most. After a few weeks of leaving your office under pitch black skies, it’s precisely when the weather starts to turn that we have a few drinks and eat some canapes. You might think, it’s January, the party is over, who cares. While you are right, it’s only now, after the detox from champagne and rich foods that the mind is a bit clearer to look back on how to do it right.
What people often forget about the holidays is that it doesn’t happen by chance. All of those perfectly decorated cookies and delicious meals do not just appear on cue. There are usually individuals, be they wives or husband, mothers or fathers, who allow you to sit back and enjoy the outcomes of their hard work. These rituals also have the danger of making you absolutely crazy. Really, how many gourmet delights can you pull together till it takes a toll on your body and a part of your soul. So, how can we make it easier? Here’s my advice on how to be the best kind of host: an engaged one.
Before I plan a dinner or party I make a master list of every single thing that I will need. Now this list has several categories and contains everything from the ingredients to the type of cutlery I will be using. Then, I make a plan of when I am going to buy or gather all of these materials. The trick is that you give yourself a lot of lead-up time. No one wants to work on a project constantly, even if it involves making place cards. Take the time you need and know your limits. If you need a break, take one and pick up the slack when you have more energy.
2. Be present
When you invite guests into your home be sure to take the time to speak to them. Sure, some platters may need a bit of refreshing but that can be done after you’ve made the rounds. Trust, they will come back to the table if they really want that savory tart.
3. Finer details
A few years ago I was walking in the grocery store and fell in love with the vintage coca cola bottles. As someone who rarely drinks soda, this was a very strange attachment. I love the look of those glass bottles engulfed in ice with the red label peeking out. The aesthetic spoke to me of a casual cool with that extra care for the details. Since then, they have appeared at every party I have hosted, from my son’s 2nd birthday to a New Year’s eve party for my parents and their friends. I am also partial to: cans of San Pellegrino, paper straws (though no one seems to ever use them), Kiju organic juice for the young ones, and Perrier. With regards to the alcohol, go heavy on the wine and lighter on the beer. Party-goers seem to prefer to mingle with stem wear. The French label Kronenbourg with their pretty blue bottles will strike a nice chord.
Most people will choose to have a smiling gracious host over a big hot, stressed mess. To walk into a house with that vibe is just not appealing. So, before your guests arrive have a drink in hand and be prepared to actually enjoy yourself. To enable you to do that you might need some help. Do you want to cut up fruits and vegetables? If the answer is a “no” then order some platters from the grocery store or a caterer. The same goes for the rest of the menu. If it will make it easier, pair some of your dishes with pre-ordered ones. There is no shame in that but it’s always a shame to miss out on a good time.
I feel that some temperaments are better suited to host parties. My control-freak tendencies mixed with the generally calm demeanor means that I take great pleasure in organizing such fanfares but experience over the years has taught me to keep it real. It is just a party. As soon as it stops being enjoyable, find pleasure in something else. Above all though, as we make our own happiness, we also make our own fun. So chillax baby, it’s the people that matter.