|Dodgerton Skillhause via Morguefile|
Consequently, I've learned to keep the bar low, much to the dismay of my husband who wants to do everything short of a remodel when company's coming. The house needs to be clean and there needs to be plenty of food. Other than that, everything else drops to the bottom of the list where I may or may not get to it. That way, I don't drive myself crazy and suck all the joy out of the visit.
Do you stress out when company's coming? Here are a few words of wisdom that I may or may not remember when it's my turn to play hostess.
Prioritize. Since perfectionism often rears its ugly head when we entertain, the list will always be longer than the amount of time and energy available to complete it. Rather than exhaust yourself by trying to turn a lived-in house into something suitable for a magazine spread, tackle the essentials first so that if you run out of time or energy, what's left to do is more easily expendable. Sounds logical, I know, but many a hostess has been done in by starting with a project that looked easy enough on Pinterest.
Take small steps. If possible, try not to cram all the preparations into one day. Even small steps like setting the dining room table ahead of time (if you can keep it off-limits until guests arrive) or running the dishes through the dishwasher the weekend before (better yet -- buy pretty paper goods!) give you one less thing to do the day of the event. Experienced hostesses have this down to a science, but those of us who entertain only infrequently can easily forget how many small details are involved and find ourselves racing the clock before guests arrive.
Relax and enjoy. Unless part of your plan includes guest participation in the preparations, make it a rule that once that first guest arrives, ready or not, you are finished preparing. Pour yourself a drink of your choosing, sit down and join the people who were important enough to be invited to your home. Set a timer to remind yourself to check on the final details if you need to, but don't spend all your time in the kitchen while everyone else is chatting and socializing. After all of your efforts, you should enjoy your guests, too.
Whether you're celebrating Passover, Easter or something else entirely, I wish you wonderful time with friends, family and lots of food.