Just Make Yourself at Home

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Photo By thebittenword

How many times have we heard that statement, or said it ourselves? Many of us enjoy having dinner guests at our homes and want them to feel at ease there.

Unfortunately, many of us stress over making everything perfect in order to make our guests feel welcome. Well, truthfully, one of the best ways to make them feel comfortable is to be prepared and thoughtful of their needs.

Through a little preparation, we can also make things easier on ourselves as well.

So how do we make our guests feel at home?

  • Don’t try to make the house spotless – Okay, I know what you’re thinking. And no, I don’t mean for you to leave it dirty. What I’m talking about is letting your house look like you actually live there. I’ve been in a few houses that were so perfect that I was afraid to sit on the couch because I might wrinkle the cushions. It’s okay to leave a few things sitting around. This actually provides a more cozy feel to your home.
  • Play light music in the background as your guests are arriving – Playing a little music is especially nice if some of your guests don’t know one another well, or even if you don’t know them very well. The music helps make the atmosphere light and also provides a filler if there are a few of those awkward moments of silence.
  • Have nuts or other little snacks sitting out on a tray – Since sometimes guests are a little uneasy if it is their first time in your home, snacks give them a little something to munch on until dinner is ready. However, don’t do too much because you do want them to eat the meal you have worked to prepare.
  • Cook casual foods that are easy to eat – The more casual the food you prepare, the more at ease your guests will be. Try also to cook things that are easy to eat, avoiding things like barbeque ribs, that tend to be very messy. Of course, foods like this are fine for really close friends or family.
  • Find out about dislikes or food allergies beforehand – Try to find out if there are specific foods that your guests just cannot stomach, or if they have any food allergies. There is nothing worse than working hard to prepare Mom’s Meatloaf only to find out that meatloaf is the one thing your guests just can’t handle. Or, you’ve baked a cinnamon cake for dessert and two of your guests are allergic to cinnamon. Trust me, I’ve learned to try to ask these things in advance.
  • Decide the seating arrangement in advance – If possible, try to seat guests that have common interest in close proximity to one another. Your guests will be able to enjoy more pleasurable dinner conversation if they find common ground with one another.
  • Leave paper hand napkins in the restroom – Have you ever been to someone’s house, used their restroom and washed your hands, only to be left wondering which towel to dry your hands on? I have. Well, the solution to this problem is to buy some paper hand napkins that are made to sit beside the sink in the restroom. This way your guests have their own little towel on which to dry their hands. Since, they are available in  many styles and designs, these towels can also add a nice decorative touch to your restroom.

All these suggestions are things that I have learned by having guests in my home, or by being a guest in someone else’s home. It is always nice to feel like the host or hostess put forth a little extra effort to ensure that you are welcome in his or her home.

Remember, the best way to make sure that your guests feel welcome and comfortable is for you to be relaxed and just act yourself.

How do you make sure that your guests are at ease in your home?

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Posted on March 28th, 2009 in Food and Entertaining | 5 Comments
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