Thursday, December 12, 2013

Avoid rookie hostess mistakes

It's funny what we worry about at this time of year. We want everything to go smoothly when family and friends are with us. And we want to lavish those guests in comfort and holiday cheer.
Experts say we should make a plan and lots of lists so the pantry is well-stocked and we're prepared to handle those little emergencies and special requests.
It sounds so simple, but I've learned that there's almost no way to really be prepared when the celebrating starts. So now my personal holiday survival list just covers the basics:
  • Coffee: This is a no-brainer, except that I'm not a coffee drinker. Imagine the disbelief when a house full of relatives came downstairs one morning to find not even a spoonful of mojo juice. I'm not exaggerating when I say those people were scary.
  • Paper towels: Seems to me some people, especially the youngest ones, can't get enough of these. I've seen them used as a dish rack, as place mats and layered to make a pillow for a teddy bear.
  • Firewood: The fireplace is my go-to for bringing everybody together. Just be sure to send an experienced person to the woodpile. You'd be surprised how much of a danger people become to themselves – and their dignity – when they come face-to-face with a small spider or a baby snake.
  • Well-charged smartphone or camcorder: It's the host's and hostess' job to capture the most memorable moments, especially those trips to the woodpile.
Sullivan: and @sullivan_obs on Twitter