Once again, we have a post inspired by the BlogHer Life Well Lived campaign. The current topic? Getting Organized. And the question I have been asked to answer:
What is your best tip for hosting a gathering, get-together or party that is enjoyable and stress-free for both the host and guests?
Wow. They almost could not have asked a question I am less qualified to answer.
The last party I hosted was roughly a decade ago: a tea party for stay-at-home-moms and their mostly preschool children. The cat hid. Sure, I’ve been to plenty of parties in the meantime, but never in charge of planning and never waiting nervously for guests to arrive.
So regrettably, my tips are pathetically simplistic. If you can’t just make reservations, you’ll have to make do:
- If catering (or pot luck) is out of the question, keep the food simple. This isn’t the time to try and impress everybody with that great new recipe from Food Network that looked so much easier than it was. Just be sure to serve enough variety that there’s something everyone can eat. There’s a lot to be said for stuff that is almost ready to go straight from the store. I’ll never forget the sorority party where we suggested to our alumni hostess that a big Stouffer’s Lasagne was just fine, and she decided that she simply had to make the real deal from scratch. She was frazzled long before any of us arrived!
- Less is more when it comes to activities. This is true whether the guests are 4 or 40 years old. Sure, have some stuff planned — including a way for people to get to know one another if the guests aren’t already all friends — but let people have their own conversations. When your guests are kids, understand that some unstructured playtime is a great way for them to blow off extra energy (say, from cake, ice cream, and sugary fruit punch?).
- Do as much as possible before hand, so you can relax and enjoy your own party. If possible, enlist someone to help you out. Delegate authority! Put somebody else in charge of a few things. Nobody says you have to be a super-hero.
In Closing: I guess you’ll have to eat two; pretty much yeah; Dragon and Tiger Remix; right on, brother; what the heck is it about that place that begets violence??; the truth about abortion; Romney doesn’t just want to make the government small enough to drown in a bathtub, his plan to do it will drown the economy too!; 3 key questions; about time; curing diabetes; and free textbooks.