Nov 19, 2013

Tips for Holiday Guests

Its that time of year again.  The time to pull out years of favorite recipes, make a list of 'to dos', and gather with friends and family.  You have received an invitation for a holiday gathering.  Are you wondering what to wear, what to bring, and how to help?  Here are some specific ways to do just that.

The Attire - This may be determined by several factors.  The person receiving the guests may send an invitation and specify the time, the attire, and what to bring.  If no invitations were sent but guests are to arrive during evening hours and are to be seated at a formal dining table, it's better to over dress than under dress.  There are always exceptions.
Unless the hosts specifically requests casual attire, dress to contribute to the experience and acknowledgement of the occasion.

The Menu - Ask how you may help.  Let the host/hostess decide.  I recently had a conversation with several women at my horse boarding facility and discovered that Grandma's dressing and other side dishes define the day.  "What?  There will be no oysters this year in the dressing?  Then I'll bring my own ".

"Imagining a year without ambrosia is like Christmas with no tree"!  Yes, tradition and nostalgia always play a role during the holidays; but why not try something different and remember the significance of the day?  Its just one meal.  If you cannot fathom a year without your creamed peas, then make them and enjoy later in the day or evening.  Always feel free to ask what you may bring and respect the answer. Collaborate with the host and determine if you may help with the existing menu.

The Table - Table settings certainly create the atmosphere for a casual or formal themed event.  Be sure to recognize this as time invested and careful planning.  It also represents the hosts' personal style and desire to set the scene.  Never, ever move place cards without checking with the hostess.  Mixing and mingling is always encouraged.  The gesture to bring flowers or decorations doesn't go unnoticed; however, before you go and purchase a 4' centerpiece, ask how you can help with the table.  Your willingness and enthusiasm will be appreciated.

The work - Ask how you may help.  Pick up ice, offer to run a last minute errand,  help to keep the children out of the kitchen, ask if you may serve a dish,  help between courses, pitch in and clean up the kitchen!

Reading a consistent theme?  Ask how you may help.  We all have our individual ideas for the perfect holiday.  Embrace the day and be grateful for the food and fellowship you are to receive.  Let go of preconceived expectations and rigid traditions.  If you focus on family, friends, and acknowledge your blessings, you'll never miss the oysters in the dressing.  Next year, you can host and ask for help.



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