You either just sit at the table or you set the table. You either open the door or the door opens for you. In every party situation, you either arrive as a guest, or welcome others to your home. In both scenarios, you can work to help everyone feel comfortable at any gathering.
Consider the occasion before you attend a party: will many people attend or does the night seem small and intimate with a few guests? A smaller crowd means you need to create more conversation and hold up your end of small talk. Be ready! A large party means more mingling, noise, and perhaps a crowded house. If this seems overwhelming, find a quiet corner to hang out to pass the evening.
Ask the hostess if you can bring something to help with the event. If you receive a polite “no, I’ve got things covered” as your answer, think about bringing a bottle of wine or sparkling apple cider for all to enjoy. As a general rule, arrive at someone’s house with an item to contribute to the party or something that expresses gratitude for the invitation. The words “hostess gift” may seem to come from another era, but small tokens always bring a smile and go a long way to express appreciation for the effort of throwing a party.
Advice about bringing fresh flowers: while this seems like a thoughtful gift, you actually create more work for your hostess when you arrive with cut flowers that require arranging in a vase. Maybe a potted plant or a small arrangement could show your gratitude instead while offering the splash of color and freshness you have in mind.
As a hostess, be ready for anything and expect very little. Can you laugh even when the dish you pull from your oven seems not-even-close to that photo in that gorgeous website? Do you graciously say thank you when a guest arrives with a pie for dessert that requires more plates and forks than you prepared for – and whipped cream, if you even have any? If you can answer yes to these scenarios or anything else that walks through your door, you throw your parties with a great attitude!
Hosting people at your home requires work and energy. Keep your reason for celebrating in the front of your mind: to experience a fun event and connect with others. If these reasons remain top-of-mind, the stress can lift off your shoulders and you can relax with others at your party.
As either a guest or a host, the best person at any party is one with a smile and a genuine joy for surrounding oneself with friends and family. Keep your grins at-the-ready and let the good times roll!
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