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Giving a party requires a great deal of work. If you have been fortunate enough to be included in a festive soiree, it is nice to arrive with a gift for the hostess. The typical present will cost anywhere from $15-$100. What you spend will be determined by your relationship and the type of event. Is it a formal dinner? A backyard BBQ? Also, when possible, know the likes and dislikes of your hostess. If she is allergic to flowers, you probably will not arrive with a bouquet in hand.

1. Choose the table. Will you use a round that seats four or a rectangle that seats twelve? This decision will determine your centerpiece.

Warmer weather will be arriving soon, and I am seeing more of our four-legged members making an appearance in the dog parks and on walking trails. With pets taking more prominent roles in our lives, I thought it would be good to brush up on basic dog etiquette and ownership responsibilities.

Meeting friends for dinner after work, grabbing coffee with your girlfriend or just ordering pizza on a Friday night with neighbors. We all have a deep desire to be connected in a world that often forgets the importance of relationships. Many of us have the desire to entertain, but we let our circumstances keep us from extending hospitality. Often it revolves around our lack of confidence in our ability to host events. I get this!

A toast may be offered in any setting and made to an individual or a group. Increase your confidence at your next social gathering by learning the ins and outs of this ancient tradition.

A perfect entertaining year for me would be hosting a different themed party each month! Will I do that? No. Will I dream about it? Yes! If I cannot have a party every 4 weeks, I can at least help my Lisa Lou family with ideas so hopefully a few of you can carry the torch of hospitality for the rest of us.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this became the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another person.

A successful hostess remembers one of the most important factors to make her guests feel welcome: engage all 5 senses! When entertaining, ask yourself, “How have I embraced taste, smell, sight, sound and feel?” It is easy to do and your friends and family will be left saying to themselves, “I don’t know what is was, but that was a fabulous party!”

As your holiday social calendar is no doubt filling up, you may be looking for a family friendly party idea to get into the spirit! A Christmas Cookie Swap is wonderful for large groups and something the entire family will enjoy! I would recommend inviting at least six families so there are enough cookies for the exchange. This party idea is budget friendly for young families, the ingredients for the cookies are generally inexpensive, and your party décor is already in place with festive decorating.

  • Writer's pictureLisa Lou

How to Be the Perfect Dinner Guest

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together? Do the different generations get along? What personality types will enjoy interacting? When an invitation is extended it is expected those invited will elevate the atmosphere and be joyful participants in the celebration. When a guest shows up late or stands in a corner and does not mingle, this causes undo stress for the host. Listed below are a few obligations of a party guest.

1. Decide if you WANT to attend. If you want to attend, then decide if you CAN attend.

2. Respond (RSVP) to the invitation within 24-48 hours, and respond in the manner the hostess requested: email, phone call, etc.

3. Pick your outfit. If attire is not listed, ask the hostess what she is wearing.

4. Prepare your hostess gift. Some quick ideas: stationary; favorite wine; seasonal candle; homemade item.

5. Brush up on your dining etiquette with a quick tutorial.

6. Be on time to the party, which means no more than 15 minutes after the start time. (Open houses are different, as they are come and go.)

7. Once you arrive to the party offer to help the hostess with her duties. If she declines do not interfere. She may have a certain way she likes things managed, and your help could be a hindrance.

8. Introduce yourself to others at the party. When introducing two people, choose which person you want to receive the honor, and state their name first. Then proceed by introducing the other person to the honored person. Example: Your college roommate would be introduced to your grandmother (who you chose to honor with the introduction). “Grandmother (state the honored person’s name first), I would like to introduce to you my college roommate, Suzy. Suzy, this is my grandmother Mary Smith.” Most importantly, whether you remember the order or not, just make the introduction!

9. Socialize with the other guests. You were invited for a reason. Do your part and initiate conversation with others.

10. Participate if there is an activity planned. As an invited guest, share in the fun.

11. The day after a party, send a thank you note or make a phone call to say how much you appreciated being included.

There is nothing wrong with declining an invitation to an event you just do not wish to attend. The hostess has gone to a great deal of effort to put together a wonderful evening, and if you are not prepared to fully participate, it is better for you and the hostess if you stay home. When we are a guest, we have a responsibility to be a welcome addition to the party. This is the best way to show your love and gratitude for a wonderful evening!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou