10 Ways to Be a Better Host in the New Year (Slideshow)
10 Ways to Be a Better Host in the New Year
If your New Year’s resolution is to be more social or throw more parties, a great place to start is the Super Bowl. Set on the first Sunday in February, the biggest day in professional sports gives you an excuse to invite your friends over and throw a party. It also gives you a great opportunity to brush up on your party-hosting skills and keep up on the resolution to be an engaging (and well-prepared) host.
Keep Your Place Clean
You don’t want people to be staring at a layer of dust while they try to watch the Super Bowl game or shuffling your piles of laundry in order to sit on the couch. Keeping your home consistently clean and tidy will make your life easier in general, but when having company over, it’s necessary.
Keep Your Pantry Well-Stocked
You never know when you’ll have to entertain at the last minute, so being prepared for any event at any time is a great way to improve your hosting skills. Keep a few simple party snack staples such as frozen appetizers, chips and dip, and beer in your pantry at all times. You just never know when it will come in handy!
Create the Right Atmosphere
Understand your friend (or family) group and plan parties in accordance with their personalities and attitudes. If you’re a casual group who appreciates a good chicken wing washed down with Bud Light, don’t try and throw a high-brow party filled with Champagne and bruschetta with goat cheese.
Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
The key to being a better host is to be a better planner. Even if it sounds boring, executing a party that everyone will enjoy is all about advance work, scheduling, and to-do lists. Know what (and when) you need to buy, cook, clean, and decorate long before you have to do it. And please, don’t procrastinate.
Prep Everything in Advance
You don’t want to be chopping onions for your fresh salsa or rolling out your cocktail meatballs while your guests are enjoying the party festivities. Practice the art of “mise en place,” aka having all of your chopping, slicing, and early cook work done and organized before you start to put together your meal.
Overestimate the Amount of Food
You don’t want your party guests to be scraping the bowl of guacamole or fighting over the last pulled pork sandwich before the third quarter of the Super Bowl is even over, do you? Think about how much food the average guest will eat and multiply it by one-and-a-half. At best, everyone will have enough for seconds (or thirds). At worst, you’ll have leftovers of delicious party snacks.
Remember Crowd Favorites
If your seven-layer bean dip, homemade flatbread pizzas, or special sangria is something that your friends look forward to eating every time you throw a party, keep it on the menu. Even if you get sick of cooking the same thing year after year, people will be disappointed if a fan-favorite is absent.
As a host, it’s easy for you to get caught up in the big picture of generally making sure people are getting enough food and are having a good time. But the key to people having a good time is making sure they can easily meet people and have engaging conversations. Cut out the awkwardness of introductions by facilitating them yourself. Your guests will thank you for it.
To be the best possible host, it’s important for you to remember people’s dietary restrictions, likes/dislikes, and habits when planning a party and a menu. If someone happens to be allergic to peanuts, don’t fill all of your dessert options with them. Also, try to have at least one or two gluten-free or vegetarian options on your party menu to make sure everyone can enjoy themselves.
Engage With Everybody
Sure, there may be some party guests you like more than others or some whom you haven’t seen in a long time, but make sure to spend individual time with each person you invite over. The last thing you want to be seen as at your own party is rude.