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10 Tips To Be a Superhost—And a Superguest

Holiday Party Tips

What time should you arrive when the invitation reads 5 o’clock? What tasks can you delegate to guests so you don’t end up with too many cooks in the kitchen? Here’s a quick guide to being the perfect host and an ideal guest for the Holidays!

Are you hosting a party?

1Keep the menu simple—and memorable

Forget complicated recipes that require the skills of a professional chef. If you’re trying out a new appetizer, make sure to serve one of your signature main meals—whether it’s that meat pie you’re famous for or your delicious duck à l’orange. Finish with a new twist on an old-fashioned dessert by adding a few drops of rum or almond extract to your crème brûlée.

2Set the scene

Even the most exquisite meal will be missing a key ingredient without the right décor, so be sure to set your Holiday table with elegance and a touch of originality! Try personalizing your table by inscribing each guest’s name on a plain cookie using colourful royal icing.

3Make a list—and check it twice

Write down what you need to get done during the evening, as well as how long each task will take. It’s a quick and simple way to keep everything running smoothly. Armed with a great plan, you’re sure to minimize your chances of forgetting something once the party gets going.

4Ask for help

Assign guests the tasks of hanging up coats, filling wine glasses, setting out appetizers, and anything else they can take off your hands. Avoid people crowding around the stove by choosing your most kitchen-savvy guest to be your right-hand man.

5Create a festive ambiance

The 24th is a special kind of get-together. Add some life to the party by putting together a music mix featuring every family member’s favourite song from 2014. Then try to guess who picked what! Play some fun games between courses to help break the ice and spice up the conversation. It’ll even give you time to prepare the next course! Turn the living room carpet into a dance floor, set up a karaoke contest, gather round a board game… Pick something special that suits your family’s style!

Are you a guest?

1Be on time (but not a moment before)

If you arrive too early, you’ll probably catch your host with wet hair wrapped up in a towel. Too late and you’ll upset the flow of the evening (etiquette demands a quick call to let your host know you won’t be there on time).

2Thank your host with a special gift

A bottle of wine, a bouquet of bright flowers, homemade cookies, or a box of chocolate… It’s only polite to thank your host for inviting you over. Looking for an extra special way to say thanks? Try a selection of fine vinegars, a bottle of orange-flavoured olive oil, imported caviar, a box of fresh cronuts, or even specialty candy like nougat or meringues. Show your host how much you appreciate their invitation!

3Get involved

Ask your host if you should bring dessert, a fine cheese or a side salad. Try to pick something that doesn’t need to be heated up, and be sure to bring your own serving plate and utensils. You can also help out in the kitchen—as long as you don’t get in the way!

4Add your two cents

Get the conversation going by talking about what makes you tick. Bring along a board game that’ll get people laughing, or a gourmet treat you’d like others to try—like nougat with dried fruit, a bottle of Champagne or chocolate truffles. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but you can add some life to the evening!

5Know when to leave

Is your host yawning and looking at their watch? Don’t abuse their hospitality. Take a moment the next morning to call and thank your host for a great evening, too.

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