November and December always seem to be jam-packed with events. Every year, I watch as my calendar gets filled with shopping dates, bake days, concerts, parties, dinners – you name it. While the togetherness of the season certainly has its pros, it can often feel a bit overwhelming, especially if you are hosting. Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or simply a holiday party, chances are you’re feeling anxious for the event. News flash: feeling nervous is completely normal! There are a lot of balls to juggle when it comes to having people over, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re secretly dreading it. We are here to help you keep your cool and earn that “Hostess with the Mostest” badge.
Now, depending on the occasion you might find yourself working with 2 crowds: the Dine & Ditchers or the Guest Room Raiders. Dine & Ditchers are the group coming over for a dinner, cocktails, or another short event. Guest Room Raiders are those out-of-town folks staying overnight. Each group requires a different kind of holiday hosting magic, so we’re breaking them out separately for you.
Dine & Ditchers
This name probably doesn’t shine a rosy lens on this group, but they are wonderful because they head home afterwards! Here are some things to consider if you are having an event at your place.
- Cater the Menu: Try to get a grasp of people’s dietary restrictions prior to the event. While individuals don’t expect you to accommodate every obscure allergy out there, it is nice to have a few options for the common categories (vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free). I recently went to an engagement party where the host whipped up a large pasta recipe and modified it as she prepped to be inclusive. She started without meat or dairy, then added in dairy, then added in meat. By the end, she had three distinct options to feed everyone.
- Prep Your Bar: The same goes for beverages if you want to provide them (BYOB is totally acceptable too!). If you’re serving one option (example: wine), then maybe let guests know in case they have a strong preference for beer, spirits, or non-alcoholic. We hosted 12 people for Friendsgiving this past weekend, and had [amazing] Spanish gin & tonics for everyone, then asked they bring anything else they wanted. It worked out perfectly, and I didn’t have to drop hundreds of dollars in a boozy guessing game.
- Stock Your Banos: It is easy to get so caught up in the menu planning that you forget about other areas of your home. Do not forget about your bathrooms! Make sure you have fresh towels, restocked soap, and backup toilet paper. The last thing a guest wants to do is bug you for extra TP or have to snoop around for it.
- Create Some Ambiance: I always burn candles when guests come over so my home smells fresh. Our house doesn’t have dimmable lights, and I wish it did. If yours does, consider turning them down slightly to make your home feel cozier.
- Send Them Off Right: I recently saw a DIY project on Pinterest for leftover guest baggies. This is by no means necessary, but if you really want to make guests feel extra loved, then consider sending them home with some to-go goodies.
Guest Room Raiders
If your family or friends are from out-of-town, then it is a nice gesture to offer that they stay at your home. Some people prefer hotels, but holiday travel can add up financially, so it is nice to help loved ones save money. My husband and I lived in Kansas City and Denver prior to moving to Minneapolis, and we had at least a dozen different visitors over the 3 years. Here are some tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the way:
- Load Up Layers: I personally sleep hot, but know many people who are opposite. Leave a throw blanket or two with guests so they can add layers as needed. Inversely, if you have a fan then consider putting that out as well.
- Share Your Wifi: Unless you are exclusively having your great-aunt Mildred stay over, then chances are your guests would love to tap into your internet. If you want to be extra crafty, then print the information in a frame for easy reuse.
- Grab Some Java: Even if you are one of those martians that doesn’t need caffeine, chances are your guests might love a mug or two in the morning. It doesn’t need to be a fancy roast, but if you are hosting then having coffee available is usually a big hit!
- Keep Essentials On-Hand: I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten to my destination and realized I forgot my contact case, toothbrush, or deodorant. It’s like my brain intentionally blocks out at least one daily essential per trip. If you have a guest bathroom, keep a reserve of those ever-so-handy essentials that people may forget. Some items to consider are toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, deodorant, contact cases, and contact solution.
- Prep A Pitcher: This lesson is from my dear friend in Kansas City. She keeps a water carafe and glass set in her guest bedroom and fills it when people visit. I would have never in a million years thought of it had I not stayed with her after moving away from KC, but it is so clutch! It spares your guests from having to roam your house at potentially odd hours of the night to quench their thirst. I registered for a carafe and glass set and love it, but a pitcher works perfectly too.
I hope you found these insights to be helpful for your upcoming holiday hosting. It is so gratifying to get together with loved ones, but people forget it takes work! If you are hosting, either for dinner or for visitors, here are some items from our shop to make it all run smoothly.
Products: 1. Stoneware Ceramic Mugs Set of 4 [here] || 2. Stoneware Cactus Mug [here] || 3. Marble Two-Tone Cheese Board [here] || 4. Drink Trough [here] || 5. Blush Dots Water Pitcher [here] || 6. Color Block Throws [here] || 7. Cali Vibes Candles [here] ||