Be the festive season hostess with the most-estbecaleb
They’re here at last! The summer holidays.
Long summer days mean more time to unwind and more time for entertaining. Now is the perfect time to catch up with friends and family after a busy year.
While entertaining comes naturally to the fortunate few, for most of us it’s a recipe for disaster. We’ve all had experiences that have left us swearing never again!
Hosting can be stressful and even downright scary. But it doesn’t need to be. Bringing friends and loved ones together and creating new memories can be as easy as it is enjoyable.
Whether you want to have people around for your annual festive celebration, indulge in a splash of coffee and a piece of cake or enjoy a braai with your maatjies, here are some handy tips to help make sure your guests have a great time, and you do too.
- Plan and set a budget. It will save you money, time and stress. Taking 10 minutes to plan ahead makes hosting easier and less hassle. In fact, why not start your own hostess planner notebook? Write up your to-do list. After your event, if there is anything you’d wish you’d thought of, add it to your plan. Next time you want to host a similar event, all you have to do is open your notebook to the right page. Easy-peasy.
- Keep it simple. More isn’t always better. Humble hosting helps set your guests at ease, whereas going over-the-top can make your visitors uncomfortable. It’s often the small things that make a big impression and become the perfect ingredients to make a get-together special.
- Pick a colour. So often when decorating our tables and homes for special occasions, we are tempted by cute little themes: bunnies for Easter, hearts for Valentine’s Day, reindeers for Christmas. Yet, choosing a specific colour as the base for your décor means that items can be used over and over again. So, a red tablecloth and candles for your Christmas table can be used again for Valentine’s Day.
- Decorate early. You can do a lot of your decorating the day before. Whether this means setting your table, laying out the tray you are going to serve from, or picking a small sprig of flowers from your garden to place in the bathroom, take the stress off by decorating early.
- Lift a glass. Add a little colour to your glasses and water jugs for simple elegant flair. A few slices of lemon or mint leaves in a water jug that sparkles with ice can prove irresistible. A single pomegranate pip or a raspberry at the bottom of a champagne glass adds a stylish touch. Think about setting up a self-serve style beverage station that has easy access. It often becomes a gathering and chatting point.
- Serve up your speciality. Don’t stress about what to serve, stick to the dishes you love making and your family love eating. Often, we feel pressure to serve a different dish every time we have someone around. Yet, when we go to others’ homes, we do so hoping they’ll serve up their speciality — be it lasagne, a seafood braai, a roast or decadent cookies. Your speciality is always a crowd-pleaser.
- Create a relaxed mood so you can enjoy yourself. If you do this, your guests will enjoy themselves too. If people ask if they can help, delegate small jobs to them. Let things slide if they’re going to frazzle you. Clear the dishes, but leave washing for later so you can sit down with your guests and delight in being together. Take time to enjoy your guests.
- Make space to mingle. Bring your guests together in different spaces so they can catch up if they haven’t seen each other for a while, or get to know each other if meeting for the first time. People will naturally mingle around your serving points, so leave space for this. Arrange outdoor furniture or scatter cushions and blankets to create picnic-like spaces for people to stretch out, stare at the clouds and share a story. At night, using candles, lanterns or fairy lights, especially outdoors, are great ways to encourage people to gather in a specific place.