Always The Hostess Never The Guest


As the holiday season approaches, my calendar is suddenly flooded with new entries. Not only am I to attend events, but I am generally the one hosting. Even if it is not my event, I usually end up lending a hosting hand. I have written before about how I truly love hosting, so this is not a complaint, but it absolutely can get overwhelming and stressful at times.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some tips I use to help keep my sanity through this hosting season:


Planning is always the first step to any event. Setting a theme and coming up with key elements to build around is the foundation of a great event. Thanks to the world of Pinterest, even those who are not creative, can find all the inspiration they need. 

Stay organized

A general rule, I (try) to live my life by staying organized. If things around me are organized, my brain seems to be more organized too. So what does that look like when it comes to hosting? I spend a good amount of my time making plans, lists and schedules, especially when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. That is something I very much find overwhelming. There are so many moving parts to a great Thanksgiving dinner, so having everything broken down into a schedule is very helpful. 

[Try to] be patient

If you’re anything like me (and if you’re always the host, you probably are!), you like to be in control of the situation. People will want to be helpful. If you are in a place where you are offered help, that is great and delegate tasks. If you decline help however, be patient when people repeatedly ask or hover around waiting for you to say something. I am reminding myself of this as much as I am telling you. This is probably one of my biggest pet peeves. The phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen” exists for a reason.

Find the right task

If people are persistent in wanting to help, find smaller tasks you feel comfortable giving; for example, setting the table, putting out plates, etc. This can keep them out of your way. It also helps to find something they like doing that you don’t; for example, I don’t like pumpkin and have never been one to make pumpkin pies, but my mother-in-law very much enjoys it, so she brings them. This gives her a task she is happy with and I don’t have to worry about making pies. 

Know your limits

Let’s be super real for a minute: social media has created an expectation of what events should look like and some of them aren’t remotely unobtainable, AND THAT IS OKAY. I don’t live in a mansion, I don’t have a gigantic kitchen, and most importantly, I don’t have a team to assist in all the event needs, so I keep the event scale to what the venue (my house) can handle. I don’t have the ability to spend thousands of dollars on the drink menu alone. I know what limit I have and I like to think I can throw a pretty great event within those limits. If you do have all of those things, that is wonderful and I bet you can throw a pretty great party, too. 

Make memories

What good is the holiday season without making some amazing memories? Some of my best Christmas memories growing up are of being in the kitchen with my mom baking and decorating cookies. My son is finally at the age where he may be able to help me decorate some cookies. Even though we may not serve the cookies he helps me decorate (anyone with young children knows why!), getting to decorate together will be something I think we both will enjoy. If your kids are older, get them involved. Have them help cut vegetables, stir things, and keep track of the timer. Not only is it great bonding, but it will teach your kids about being in the kitchen. Keep in mind: when kids are in the kitchen, things may not always run smoothly, but when it comes down to it, the outcome is not nearly as important as the love and fun that occurred leading up to. And of course, there needs to be supervision any time children are around hot surfaces or sharp objects. 

Enjoy it

This is a big one! Enjoy what you’re doing. Hosting is a lot of work, a lot of stress, and a lot of pressure. If it is something you are not going to enjoy, you will just make yourself miserable trying to juggle it all. If you once enjoyed hosting but find yourself not enjoying it anymore, maybe it is time to step back. Take a break for a year or however long you need to find that spark again. The holidays are meant to create happy memories, not ones that create bitterness and resentment. 

On the off-chance you get a break from the hosting gig and find yourself as a guest, remember how much work goes into putting on an event. Be appreciative and respectful. Don’t show up late. If the host does not need help, don’t hover in the kitchen. Remember the kind of guests you like having and aim to be that. 

What other tips would you add to being both a guest and a host? Leave a comment below to let us know!


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