t’s the season for gatherings - whether it’s with your found family or siblings, hosting folks in your home or apartment can be stressful, busy, and sometimes complicated. However, if you plan ahead of time then things can go a lot smoother for everyone involved. Whether this is the first party you've ever hosted or you've done this hundreds of times, it's always a good idea to mix things up a little and get creative.

Personally, I love to have people over my place and show them my book collection or any other knick-knacks that I have around. Overall I like to decorate and I'm a very creative person with a lot of cool things just lying around that the normal person wouldn't typically have in their home or apartment. I found that even though I don't have a lot of things, I have things that are unique to me and have meaning. 

Being a good host doesn't mean that you have to break your back for everyone, but it just requires you to be accepting and welcoming to those you invite into your home. There's no such thing as the perfect host, and holding yourself to that expectation is unrealistic. Being an adult will typically mean that you have to host people in your house. It can be fun, and it doesn't have to just feel like an obligation during the holidays. Here are some of my tips for hosting, which you can personalize based on your own style and aesthetic. 

Make Them Feel At Home 

Right when your guests come through the threshold of your place, my rule of thumb is to make sure that they have everything they need. It can be really exciting to have friends visit from all over, or to have family members make the trek to your place for the first time. Show them around your place if they’ve never been there before, or make conversation by catching up on recent events. No matter what, hosting people can be an enjoyable experience and by having accommodations for everyone, everything goes a lot smoother. 

Whether this is your typical dinner party, New Year's Eve dressing up to fit a theme or with a certain style, we like to  mix things up a little. There's nothing like dressing up to create the best mood for a party or gathering.Photo courtesy of Pexels

Have Guests Dress Up for the Occasion

If you're hosting a group at your home, why not make it a fun event by inviting your guests to dress their best? Just because you might be staying in doesn’t mean you can’t make a photoshoot out of it. My suggestion: ask your guests what they think and vote together on what to wear. Doing this also gives your guests something to look forward to, especially if it's a theme that everybody collectively agreed on. 

You and your guests can even make up a mood board on Pinterest with some signature styles to inspire your wardrobe for the occasion. Maybe you want to get classy and dress in cocktail attire. Or you want to inspire your dark academic needs with a cool overcoat or trench coat with button up shirts. Even better, you might want something cozy and casual, yet stylish by going simple with casual sweater dresses. Whatever you and your guests think is best, go with it.

If your guests enjoy coffee and small appetizers, try and ask them what they’d like before they show up to your doorstep. Photo courtesy of Pexels

Curate a Special Menu 

After you've decided what theme you want to do for your Gathering you can then cater a menu to that theme. It doesn't necessarily have to be that coordinated but it can be fun to get creative with a new menu. If you're looking to make easy home cooked meals that can serve plenty of people, I might suggest baking a few loaves of bread or purchasing some fresh from the grocery store. You can make bruschetta or other appetizers for your guests.

Ask everyone about any dietary restrictions they might have, just so you can make sure everyone has some options. You usually can't go wrong with salads, soups, and other comfort foods. One of my favorite side dishes is oven roasted potatoes with dill, lemon, and olive oil. Get your guests involved by asking them to bring their own dishes or drinks. By getting your guests to share what their favorite food and beverages are, it can make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone, without any hiccups. 

Decorate Your Place

My rule of thumb before anyone comes into my place is to clean up a bit. You don't have to go all out, but I personally like to have my space as organized and catered to as possible. Making sure that everyone has a seat in a specific space or by adding extra toiletries to the restroom can make a huge difference. If you're thinking in terms of a theme try and find cost-effective ways to decorate. It doesn't have to be lavish or expensive to be fun, and typically people have extra decorations lying around.

If you own a record player or cd collection, it can be fun to have your guests choose from your own personal library. Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Play Some Good Music 

It wouldn't be a party without good music or entertainment! If you have a theme in mind, maybe make a playlist on Spotify or Apple music that you can play or you can simply search for one on a music platform. If you really want to get personalized, you can create a Spotify playlist that is collaborative and have your guests add their own songs to it, depending on the theme or just simply to get some of their song recommendations ahead of time. However, there's nothing wrong with being spontaneous! So if you want to play music but don't have anything prepared, just ask your guests during the party what they would like to hear. If you have no ideas for a playlist whatsoever, check out this one I created on Spotify.

Challenging your friends to a game of chess can teach you a lot about their character through this game of strategy and intellect. Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Plan Some Party Activities 

To make your party even more fun, plan some activities ahead of time for your guests to enjoy. Whether that be through doing some relaxing activities like painting or drawing to having a movie night, make sure everyone is on the same page. If your friends have never learned how to play chess or checkers, now might be a good time to have a quick learning session. 

Ask your visitors what they might think about playing a board game, or something similar to charades or a guessing game. They’ll make for an easy icebreaker if needed, and also create an environment of fun for everyone. Even if the games are corny, your guests can bond through the experience and have something to laugh about together later. The possibilities are endless. 

Prepare a Guest Room

Some guests might not be locals and so it might be smart to plan for having a few sleepovers. If there isn’t enough space for everyone to have their own room, ask them if they’re cool with sleeping on an air mattress or something similar. Get some extra pillows and blankets ready for your potential guests. Even the guests who are local to the area might have to stay over if they get too tired or intoxicated. By having some extra space ready and by stocking up on some breakfast supplies that are easily prepared, you can make the experience enjoyable. 

Overall, the number one rule when hosting guests during the holidays is to make sure that everyone feels comfortable. By preparing ahead of time as much as you possibly can (within reason of course!) you can avoid any troubles that might come up along the way. Overall , no matter if the party is more fancy or casual it can be a fun evening for you and your visitors no matter what. With this guide, and by consulting with your roommates, significant others, and guests, there's no way that the party can go wrong. 

Nov 11, 2021