I love gathering people – around our table, in our yard, throughout our house…whatever…
I do it a lot, but I’m a lifelong learner who still makes LOTS of mistakes! Entertaining may not be your jam, but most people have to host something sometime.
Last night we had a small open house for some leaders in our church. I thought it might help if I shared some mistakes I made that you can avoid.
Things I did wrong last night:
- I tried too many new recipes. I love trying new recipes! With a large group of guests is not always the best time. I usually try to make sure I have at least one sure-fire winner and let myself try one new recipe. Last night there were 3. Not good.
2. I had too many hot things that needed to come out of the oven at the same time – last minute. The goal is PEOPLE time – “There you are!” time.
3. I put drink station in too congested area. This is hard in our house – it’s an ongoing challenge, but I’ll keep experimenting.
4. Forgot to pray for guests. This is one of my absolute go-to’s – to stop and think about who is coming and their specific gifts and needs and pray for them. But yesterday I forgot. #fail.
5. Missed personal conversations with two guests. It’s hard to balance meaningful conversations with guests which may go long and keep you from circulating, and fly-by conversations that feel obligatory and too surfacy. I try really hard to engage meaningfully, but last night after folks left, I realized there were two people I hadn’t talked to at all! Ugh.
Things I did right:
1. Asked for help (people – especially introverts – love to be put to work!) Have people take plastic off plates, pull cider out of fridge…
2. Did as much as possible the day before. Labled serving pieces. Get out what you need, and think through how much room is needed for each option.
3. Made one easy, no-fail option. And here it is: Cut bacon slices into thirds. Wrap one piece of bacon around a “Lil Smokie” sausage and secure it with a toothpick. Dump all in a heavy plastic freezer bag. Shake in a bunch of brown sugar. Shake bag to coat and leave in fridge til ready to cook. Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes. Can keep warm and serve in batches.
I’d love to hear from YOU!! What have you done as a host that we all can learn from?