Over the years, I’ve shared strategies for hosting holiday parties, but the hardest part of hosting is that which you can’t control—particularly, the guests. This year, I’m turning the tables and suggesting Top Five Tips for being a great guest:
- Offer assistance. Always ask if you can help with preparations. If asked to bring food, inquire if there is a specific recipe or dish you can bring to go with what is often a carefully-planned menu. If your host declines help with food, don’t bring food (see #4).
- Mention allergies. Speak up as soon as you’re invited, not when you arrive, or, worse yet, when food is served. A good host will try to accommodate you, but that’s much easier to do ahead of time.
- Don’t be late. But definitely don’t be early. A party starts as soon as the first person arrives, even if the host isn’t ready to receive them. And, at the slightest hint your host is growing tired, pack up, and head out—after offering to help clean up.
- Bring a gift. Your host is gifting you with a party, so return the kindness with a (budget-friendly) bottle of wine, box of candy or floral arrangement.
- Dress to impress. This sends a message that you find the party and your host to be special. Depending on the crowd or occasion, this might simply mean a clean pair of jeans and a T-shirt instead of ripped cargo shorts and a stained hoodie.
May all your celebrations be joyful and safe!
Rachael Perron is the culinary and brand director for Kowalski’s Markets.