6 Entertaining Mistakes to Avoid During the Festive Season
Hurrah! It’s December. We’ve made it to the end of the year, 2020 is almost in the rearview mirror, and it’s time to celebrate – in responsible small groups, of course. There’s nothing like the festive holiday season in Australia, a sun-drenched period when we get to spend quality time with the people we love.
This year, given that there are still some covid-mandated restrictions, many people are choosing to entertain more at home. Which can be a lot of fun. But also a lot of stress. Hosting in your own home is a wonderful way to welcome people into your space, but it can also be a way of putting way too much on your plate – literally and figuratively.
But don’t worry, we're here to help with our guide to the most common entertaining mistakes to avoid during festive season.
Don’t overthink it
Easier said than done, we know. But overthinking your celebration is a surefire way to ruin the mood for everyone, especially you. The most important thing at any party is that the people that you love most are there and that you all have a good time. It’s that simple. Long after the afternoon or night is over, people aren’t necessarily going to remember whether or not the bread you served was at the perfect warmed-up temperature, or whether or not the natural wine was that lovely orange colour.
They’re going to remember the conversations they had, the things that made them laugh, and the time everyone spent together. With that in mind, remember that people are there to spend time together and keep it simple. A great dinner party can be catered with a big pile of pizza boxes – it doesn’t have to be a huge three course dinner party. Or everyone can bring a dish, or you can plate up an enormous wedge of cheese and a big bowl of crackers and call it a day. Keep it simple. Don’t overthink it. And remember: have a good time.
Don’t forget to set the table
Here at Bed Threads, we are firm believers that the way to instantly elevate any occasion is to throw some linen at it. In the case of entertaining, it’s all about laying the table with our linen tablecloths, placemats and napkins. Mix and match colours if you’re keen, or keep to a singular colour palette if you’re a purist – anything goes. But with the table set, the mood will be instantly established. Plus, if you haven’t had time to thoroughly scrub your table, a tablecloth hides all manner of sins.
Don’t go for quantity over quality
It can be tempting to opt for a smorgasbord of food and drink when entertaining, but a little goes a long way, especially if that little is especially lovely. One variety of really good cheese, or one spectacular dessert, or a few really good bottles of champagne, are all better than overloading the table until it’s groaning with option after option after option. Less choice actually helps people relax – and it won’t mean you’ll run out. The opposite, in fact. By catering exactly, you’re less likely to end up with a huge amount of leftovers.
Don’t forget to keep it personal
Sometimes, even at a small and intimate gathering, you need that personal touch. Bring a sense of you to your event by writing little place cards for your guests, sharing the personal stories behind the dishes you’ve served, or curating a personal playlist for the evening that you can share with your guests afterwards. Your night is about you and your guests and the relationships you all share, so make sure this special connection is a big part of the event.
Don’t serve anything you haven’t made before
Remember how we said the most important rule of entertaining is not to overthink it? Well, this lesson will come in handy when thinking about the food and drink. There can be a tendency to unveil something show stopping when hosting: a cocktail with gold leaf, perhaps, or a finicky, intricate dish from some Michelin-starred restaurant’s cookbook. We can’t stress this enough: Don’t do this. Do not do it! It will stress you out all day –all week, really – and you won’t be able to enjoy the party, given how much you’re thinking about this thing you’ve never made before. You also don’t know what it’s going to taste like, which is never helpful.
Stick to one of your tried and tested absolute classics: that big dish of pasta everyone loves to share or that zingy salad everyone goes for seconds in. Whatever works best and most often, go for that. You’ll be comfortable cooking it and everyone will be happy eating it. Win win!
Don’t clean up too early
Nothing says ‘get out of my house’ like the passive aggressive stacking of a dishwasher before everyone’s finished their desserts. Thinking about all the cleaning you have to do after a party can be daunting, but it’s also one of the unfortunate parts of hosting. Make your peace with it before you invite everyone over, because on the night you want to make sure everyone feels comfortable and relaxed without the spectre of the host hovering over them, waiting to swoop down on an empty plate or glass. Sit back, enjoy the evening and think about the cleaning tomorrow.