How to Get Great Guests!

I’m making my list and checking it twice.

This next week I’m hosting 4 different social get-togethers at our home. I know, I know. Can’t I say no? Truthfully, I didn’t want to and am looking forward to it all. Life is about balance, and I have a dear friend in palliative care at home for her last few weeks, whom I’m hoping to help out. The celebrations of the season is a nice balance to all that. In actuality, it’s more of a coinciding partnership. It’s all about the love and light of the season, whether I’m with my friend, who’s the light of so many people’s lives, or whether I’m with my family and friends and the light shining from everyone here.

How am I going to make this as stress free, as flowing, as easy as possible? We certainly can try. Today, we’re vegging here at home, and like I started out, making my list. It’s a little downtime before for the up time during the downtime.

The only way to make it flow is to make sure your guests are great! How can you control that? Some of it comes from pre-paration. Delegating jobs and encouraging contribution.

Never say no to guests asking what they can bring. I always ask them what their specialty is. This is usually something they like making and is easy for them because they’ve done it many times before. Effortless as possible. They are already happy guests and the party hasn’t begun.

Always make the party BYOB and have some extra on hand, like a non-alcoholic punch, some homemade irish cream, and some rum and eggnog.

Provide Ambience: Lights of the season. Candle lights, soft lamps, strings of lights, lit up cabinetry, all of it! I have coloured lights hanging from my clothesline. We have a hot tub, and I play Caribbean Christmas songs on the outside speakers at this time of year. Add a fire-starter to the chimnea and voila! Pure delight.

Make the menu malleable. We are fortunate enough to have a freezer full of food that we bought when it was on sale. I see the bag of shrimp. I’m going to fry them up and serve them with a jar of thai dipping sauce I bought from the local farmers market for our Christmas eve party. Guests are bringing snack foods. I created an event on facebook and specified that snack foods would be welcome. Do you like my little ‘Santa Hats’?

Leftover turkey will be used to make casserole for the gluten free types on the guest list on boxing day. With some brown and wild rice, a nice salad, and a dessert contribution from a happy guest. Of course another guest or two has brought some hors deuvres types, and I’ve laid out some cheeses, grapes etc. I can get a guest to make up that tray while they’re here.Perhaps a spicy soup, like pepper squash, or toasted red pepper and tomato? Yes, red is needed.

Provide provisions: Meaning bedding, an air mattress, when needed, or even a nap spot for that hung over Gen Xer, or the senior citizen to revive. Fresh water in a glass pitcher only $2 from the local thrift store will be waiting in the room. 🙂

Sometimes your guests overlap to two or more events, and that gives YOU the opportunity to let them help out from one event to the next. But don’t forget, you’re going to impress someone new with each festivity. Add music, lights, then ACTION! Open the door, let’em in!

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