Do you like to host? Or maybe it makes you get a little intense?? Between my husband's family and my own, we have people staying with us somewhat often. Once in a while, we'll have friends or people we don't know very well over for a Shabbat meal. But that doesn't mean I have a handle on it yet. When I was in my first year of marriage, I thought if I didn't absolutely love hosting, then something was wrong with me. It meant I couldn't get it together and that I was a failure of sorts. But now I'm older and wiser, right? No, I still struggle with crazy expectations. So without further ado, here are six pieces of advice I try to keep in mind.
- If you don't like to host (or you don’t enjoy it at this point in time), then don't do it. If you like to or sometimes have to, then read on...
- Buy prepared food if possible. You can use it to supplement your home-cooked dishes. Many times, I don’t cook a single thing I serve to our families when they come to visit. I secretly love plating food that I didn't have to slave over.
- I still struggle with this one a lot, but…. Repeat after me: You are not responsible for your guests' happiness. Sometimes, guests won’t want to talk. They’ll never say thank you. They’ll cast a gray cloud. And while it may feel very unpleasant – Girl, it is not your problem. Try to enjoy the meal if you can and no need to invite them again.
- What do you like about hosting? Making a flower arrangement? Mixing drinks? Using paper plates? Great conversations? Do what you enjoy and try to forget about your neighbor who breaks out her wedding china for all seven courses.
- If you have plans to host and life all of a sudden decides to hit you like a ton of bricks... try to reach out to a friend/a loved one and tell them what’s up. Maybe your wedding-china neighbor has tons of dessert to spare so you have one less thing to do. Yes, you can even talk to your guests. They may understand if you really just need to rain check.
- Hosting can be very expensive…. It’s the untold secret you don’t realize until you’re checking out at the store. If you still want to have guests, try not to compare yourself to other people’s elaborate meals. Having a simple table is something I appreciate as a guest. I always feel uncomfortable if I don’t taste all five platters of meat I was served.
You’re doing great. I promise. You have a place to come back to and vent if you feel like everything went wrong. Just remember… the flops often make for really great stories. Let’s hear them. What are your words of wisdom for hosting? What are some of your nightmare hosting stories??
And if you're hosting for Passover... here are seven Kosher for Passover Recipes to try out. Click on the pictures!