How to be the Perfect Holiday Host and Guest – Part One: For Hosts
You have just taken up one of the oldest and most difficult jobs in the history of humankind – being a host. In ancient Greece, the concept of hospitality was coined xenia – and this concept embodied the generosity and courtesy shown to those who are far from home and/or associates of the person bestowing guest-friendship. In the times of ancient Greece, hosting was incredibly important because means of travel were a true hardship, and while planes, trains, and automobiles have certainly made travel simpler than battling Poseidon, Charybdis, and Scylla, the value of treating your guests with the utmost honor and hospitality have not changed.
Think about the hotel industry – quite literally a trillion-dollar industry is built on the concept of hosting. When you’re hosting, try to imagine how you would want to be treated in a five-star hotel. Once you’ve found the right mindset, the rest includes simple steps to ensure your guests arrive and embark home with a sense of joy, respite, and true honor.
- Food. This is by far the most important part of hosting. You want to make sure there is plenty of food for all the people you are hosting. The best way to plan is to prepare 25% more than what you actually will need. If you end up with leftovers, great, but you never want someone to go for seconds to conclude with a disappointed and empty plate.
- On the same token of food – It is courteous and necessary to accommodate different dietary needs and concerns. Yes, this can be tedious, but to ingratiate your guests, an absolute need. Here are questions to ask:
- Do you have any allergies?
- Are there any food groups you avoid? (Meat, fish, gluten, dairy, nuts – these are the big ones).
- Along with your planned dinner, which should generally consist of appetizers, a main course, and several side dishes, you should have fruit, nuts, and dessert for after-dinner.
- Drink. You want to offer a variety of beverages in different categories. Wine (red and white), soft drinks, iced tea, and water will usually cover all of your bases.
- Restroom. You want your restroom being used by guests to be fresh and clean. Fresh towels, a new bar of soap, a lit soy candle for scent-masking and ambiance, and a room spray available for user’s discretion.
- The dinner table should be set and ready for serving. Now is a good time to bring out your best china, decorate your table with festive garnish and a candle. Place the utensils in order of use – soup spoon first, then salad fork, then dinner fork, then dinner knife.
- Keep an eye out to ensure people’s glasses are always full. A good host seamlessly refills glasses.
- Presentation is so important! Place cooked food in serving-ware. You can opt for family-style or pre-make the plates and serve each person individually.
- When guests arrive, be sure to collect their coats and offer a safe place for personal items.
- Along with everything above, if you have guests staying overnight, you want to make sure you have food accessible to your guests in the refrigerator. Explicitly offer your guests the right to allow themselves access to the fridge. A simple “Please help yourself at anytime to the fridge or cupboard” will suffice.
- Have fresh linens on the guest bed – make sure the bed is made. In the room, have a pile of freshly washed towels – you want to provide at least one large towel per person. Also provide each guest with their own fresh bar of soap.
- In the morning, have a fresh pot of coffee brewed and a full tea kettle full of water ready to make hot tea. You will probably be exhausted from cooking the night before, so consider a continental breakfast with some bagels, cream cheese, butter, yogurt, and fresh fruit.
- Restrooms and bedrooms should be completely clean and fresh-smelling.
Special Touches – Hosting is a lot of work, but if you’re ready to go above-and-beyond, here are some tips to really wow your guests.
- Place chocolates, lip moisturizer, or a fresh flower on the pillows of your overnight guests.
- Provide your guests with their own pair of disposable slippers.
- In your bathroom, have a bowl with individual lip moisturizers that guests can take.
- Have light music playing throughout the evening.
- Have some soft music playing in the restroom, to allow for more discretion and a special touch.
- Provide aromatherapy spray for your overnight guests to help them feel relaxed and at-ease.
- Have bottles of water readily accessible for dinner guests, and provide bottles of water in the room of your overnight guests.
- If you really want to impress and wow, send guests away with small gift bags.
Do you have any extra tips and tricks to be an outstanding host? Comment below!
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