Tips to Stress- Free, Last Minute Hosting
With the holiday season upon us, there are lots of opportunities to get together with friends and family. We love this time of year, so cozy, so full of fun… but let’s be honest, it can be so stressful!!! I wish I could write all the tips and tricks for having a stress-free 25-person extravaganza of a party at your home but that is not what I am doing here. Because, if I’m being honest, that is not my style. Of course, I want my guests to be able to talk to everyone, but I want to enjoy the time we spend together too. So, for me this means small get togethers that often are impromptu. I’ll share with you some of my favorite tips and tricks for hosting a last minute, casual shindig.
First thing is first, prep your house! For a long time, the hardest part about hosting for me was taking on the housework. It used to feel so overwhelming but then I realized that none of my friends were examining my baseboards or wondering when I cleaned my oven last. I’ve found that I can do a quick clean and dust in about 30 minutes. However, I feel the need to say this, if you will not be able to relax with dirty baseboards or the alike, take some more time to clean. After all, the point is to enjoy your time with your guests. But with this method, my method, we are not going to even look at the baseboards (just don’t do it!) Here are my steps to getting my house prepped in 30 minutes or less:
- Put on some music and start a timer for 30 minutes. There is something about having a running clock that just makes you go faster.
- Shut the doors to any rooms that your guests won’t need to go into, leaving those messes for another day.
- Light your favorite scented candle and place it in the main hosting area.
- Grab a laundry basket or other large storage container and clear the clutter from the spaces your guests will have access to. Then put it all behind one of those closed doors or put it in your closet. I stash it in my closet so I can’t ignore my clutter basket for days on end.
- If you have any dirty dishes, wash them or stash them in the dishwasher. Pro tip: you can simply “store” dirty dishes in the dishwasher, even if they aren’t dishwasher safe.
- Use a Swiffer or your favorite duster, to dust the surfaces in the guest areas.
- Using your favorite all-purpose cleaner wipe down surfaces that could hold food like tables and counter tops.
- Lastly give your bathroom a quick once over, wipe down surfaces including the toilet, close your shower curtain/door, and replace any towels.
What about food and drink? Its always good to have something to offer to snack on, even if you aren’t serving a whole meal. If do want to make a meal for your guests, choose something simple that you can do easily and without much focus. This way you can feel comfortable cooking with your friends and family hanging out with you—just offer them something to drink while you continue to cook.
Over the years, I’ve come across some quick, easy, and yummy snacks that are easy to throw together, but my favorite trick is to stock up on appetizers in the frozen food section at Trader Joes. So, when people come over, you can just pop one or two into the oven. Then to supplement, just go through your pantry to see what else you can serve. Do you have tortilla chips? What about nuts? Popcorn? Just pour some in a bowl and you are done. Do you have some veggies in the fridge? Cut them into bite size pieces and serve with your favorite salad dressing for dipping. One way to make veggies feel fancy is to cut them into unexpected shapes; for example, don’t cut the cucumber into round disks, cut it into matchstick shapes. Keep in mind, you just need food to put into bellies—you aren’t responsible for finding the greatest dip recipe known to mankind. (But if you do find it, please let me know, I love dips!)
The main goal of having people over is to spend time together; after all, your friends didn’t come to your place to sit in a clean room and eat your food. Sometimes in the time you spend together, conversation flows, and you just end up hanging out and chatting the hours away but sometimes it doesn’t. That is okay, it happens to everyone! Of course, you could turn on whatever sporting event is relevant (this is certainly my husband’s go to, or maybe is his goal) but there are other options available. Pull out a deck of cards or a board game, as you play your game of choice, conversation will naturally flow. One of my favorite games which is easily accessible, I might add, is a phone app, Heads Up! This is the game that Ellen DeGeneres made famous by playing on her show—it is a lot of fun! If you don’t believe me, just check out some of the you tube videos of people playing it. Or if you don’t have access to a game, it can be fun to create brackets then through discussions determine a winner. For example; create a bracket for best romantic comedy where each guest submits 2-3 movies. Then they go head to head arguing why theirs should win over the other person’s selection. The other guests determine the winner and it progresses until there is a top pick. This is an easy way to get conversations going!
If you find your inner social butterfly coming out but not sure what to do about it, I hope this post helps you feel comfortable inviting your friends or family over to make memories with you in your house because sharing your space with the ones you love, helps you to love your space more—making your house, your home.