The holidays are upon us! Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we only have 6 Sundays left before Christmas.
I don’t know about you, but as I got older I realized how stressful the holidays can be. Whether you’re a guest or hosting, we can all admit that it’s overwhelming – am I right?
I wanted to put together a few tips for holiday etiquette for y’all as these were helpful to me as I learned them over the years.
A Holiday Guest
If you’re not hosting this year (how did you get so lucky?), here are a few ways that you can help to lighten the load for the host.
- Offer to bring something Whether it be a dish or two, drinks, ice, utensils, napkins, a game – anything that would help. It’s always nice to offer help and asking the host is a great way to do that and let them know that you care. You know how stressful it can be and they can lean on you if they need help with anything the day of, or for planning ahead.
- Never show up empty handed Following up on #1, even if the host has everything covered, you never want to show up empty handed. This goes beyond the holidays as well. Anytime someone is having people over at their home, or has planned a get together, you should strongly consider bringing a small host or hostess gift. This is just a simple thank you for putting the event together. A few examples of a host/hostess gift would be: a bottle of their favorite alcohol, a candle, a box or bag of candy, an ornament, glassware, etc.
- Be helpful before, during and after the event I always appreciated those guests who constantly asked me how they can help during the actual event. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget how much pressure can be on the host/hostess. I frequently like to check in and ask if there is anything you can do. Can I help serve the hors d’oeuvres? Should I get everyone to move to the table now for serving? When the meal is done, everyone in our family typically migrates to the sitting area to watch football or play games, nap, etc. At this point I love to help clear the table and put up leftover food. Depending on how well you know the host, you might ask how you can help with cleaning up.
A Holiday Host or Hostess
- Give Yourself Grace Hosting an event is stressful no matter how well you plan it out. Especially with the holidays and family members are involved. First things first – before you even think about hosting an event, give yourself some grace. It’s going to be a challenge and more than likely something will go wrong. Learn to be okay with that and go with the flow and I promise you will keep your sanity and you will feel better about everything.
- Plan and Prepare As I mentioned earlier, hosting an event is stressful, no matter how much you plan it out, but let’s talk about planning. In communicating with your family, if you have decided to host a holiday, I would assume that means you’re having it at your own house. That would be best if you’re wanting to host so there is no miscommunication and no stress of trying to plan everything at someone else’s house. From there I would map out a menu. Be sure to get a headcount ahead of time. This will make food prepping easier. For Thanksgiving, my family and I typically have the same favorite foods each year. It’s considerate to reach out to your family members and ask if someone has a favorite dish that they would like to bring. This way, everyone is satisfied with having their favorite food AND you have some help with the menu. Something else you may want to think about would be entertainment. Again, tradition in our family is watching football and/or taking a Turkey day nap. If your family is a bit more lively for the holidays maybe you’d want to plan out some games or if the weather is nice, an outdoor activity. One side of my family typically gets together for a fun game of flag football as it is normally 70 degrees in Oklahoma.
- Ask for Help Don’t take the job as a hostess too seriously. It can be overwhelming and honestly it is too much for one person. Don’t be too proud or too afraid to ask for help. If you have children or other family members, delegate. The more people there are involved in small tasks, the smoother the holiday will go. After all, we are meant to relax and enjoy spending time with our loved ones, right?
- Lastly, Enjoy the Day As I mentioned earlier with grace and spending time with loved ones, let’s not forget the big picture. The holidays are a time of being together. As a host it is so easy to get wrapped up in having the perfect meal or perfect holiday. The reality is your friends and family are grateful that you offered to host, they are happy to help (or should be), and they are so happy to have a good meal in a good home.
I hope you have enjoyed these little tips, and most of all I hope you have wonderful holidays with your family, friends and loved ones!