How to be the Perfect Holiday Season Host

If you are opening up your home to friends and family over the festive season you are no doubt having kittens about all of the things you need to prepare to ensure everyone has a great time. The holidays can be exceedingly stressful, even for the most practiced host.

There is a multitude of advice available on how to be the perfect host, host the best party, and generally make sure your guests are happy and well catered for. Much of it involves home, facility and food preparation and, while that is certainly key, there is more to being a good host than providing accommodation in keeping with a 5 star hotel, fine dining to rival a Michelin chef and access to your Wi-Fi.

Don’t get us wrong, there is nothing wrong with creating the perfect venue however, the most important aspect of being the perfect host for us involves consideration of your guests needs. If everyone feels welcome and included, who really cares if you deep cleaned your spare bedrooms and laid out guest cards at the table?

Ultimately you will choose the level of hosting you wish to provide for your guests; however we hope our simplified and alternative suggestions appeal.

1. Insure Inclusion of all Invitees

Consider your guests carefully. You may not be aware of all of your friends and family’s personal feelings about the holiday season however, it is something that we all have well defined opinions about. Many people you are close to may have personal preferences that they feel uncomfortable discussing with others.

You may be able to do a little research in advance however; we recommend keeping your event somewhat neutral. The most important aspect of the festive season is sharing time with family and friends. Games or considered activities, good food and drink, accessible for all, and a relaxing venue takes care of most people’s needs. Gifts and extravagances should be secondary.

We are not saying forgo the decorations and festive music; it is after all your home and you have your family to consider, but perhaps when entertaining this year it would be a good idea to break from some traditions and in stead try and create an event that focuses on people simply sharing quality time together.

2. Open up as Many Spaces as You Can

While we are promoting inclusion, you will not be able to force all of your guests to join in, and there does come a point when some people may want to get away, rest, reflect, or just have a doze!


It can be really helpful to have several spaces in your house to facilitate this. It does not have to be a big area, just somewhere where people can wonder off to, to escape games, music and overzealous frivolities. It will not necessarily segregate people, merely provide a vehicle for them to express and enjoy themselves in their own way, before coming back to join the throng.

3. Be Yourself, and Let Others Be Themselves Too

While children may occasionally need taking in hand by their parents, adults are responsible for themselves. If you have a potentially difficult guest try and relax about it. You will likely be the only one who feels tension at their presence, everyone else (unless they are completely unreasonable) will be busy keeping themselves entertained. There is always a difficult guest at every party. Remove yourself of the responsibility of their actions and let things unfold as they will.

4. Prepare a Diversity of Activities

You can select a variety of activities to cater for all. We all enjoy different types of play, be that cognitive, physical or social. Make sure you have come up with something that everyone can join in.

Our suggestions are a quiz to address cognitive aspects, a hide and seek type game for the physical (don’t worry this does not have to be actual hide and seek) and a suitable game for the social aspect such as table tennis that can be set up using a dining table. There is a plethora of free quizzes and answers available on the internet covering all topics and levels including pictorial quizzes, mathematical problems, history, geography, general knowledge. You name it, you can find it. Quizzes can either be completed individually or as a group activity. They can even be completed at leisure and over the course of the event. Hide and seek games are great for entertaining the more active guests and children. You could for example pick a topic such as transport, and then stick pictures of a variety of vehicles in the areas you are entertaining in and ask teams or individuals to find them, in a specified order perhaps, or giving clues about the vehicle function, type, colour or registration? Your involvement in the unfolding of this event can be as much or as little as you choose but it gets people moving about and sharing answers (or not).

Hiding child

Lastly, we have suggested table tennis as a game, that can even be developed into a tournament. You can easily purchase a table tennis net that can be attached to any dining table, no matter the size. Then with the addition of two paddles and a few balls you are ready to go. Table tennis is a lot of fun however unlikely to break any windows.

We also suggest you consider a group walk as part of your event. Some fresh air and a chance for people to mingle in smaller groups can break up proceedings and the change in venue will be a welcome stimulation. You could even look at local events that you could observe or participate in as a group such as carol singing, a festive market or local attractions.

Crystal snow flake

5. Food and Drink – Consider the Unconventional?

It’s always nice at a party when the host is seen to be enjoying themselves, and while many people favour a traditional Christmas meal it is usually a serious undertaking which takes at least one person out of the game for several hours.

Unless you are dead set on providing the traditional ‘full monty’, why not research some alternative ideas and make it something of a buffet affair? You don’t have to exclude hot food, and can even provide a set table for people to sit and enjoy the meal, however buffets allow people to make their own choices about what food they eat, how much of it they eat, and to some extent when they eat, as it can be left out for people to pick at, at their leisure. It also aids dietary considerations, such as vegetarians and vegans or food allergies, without having to buy and prepare completely separate meals.

You can prepare much of the food in advance, freeing you up to enjoy your guests company. The same is applicable for drinks, although the provision of a punch may provide a different and welcome refreshment and avoid you having to buy the entire A-Z of drinks to cater for everyone’s tastes.

A Final Word

We hope our ideas are food for thought! Many of the pressures of entertaining we put on ourselves, by trying to achieve our perception of the perfect host. This year, why not try and shirk the expected and embrace the unexpected? If you are planning an event maybe we can help? Why not set up a wishlist that you, and your guests, or fellow organisers, can easily access. That way you can keep a track of what you need to make your celebration a success. Our website is completely free to use and there is no registration required.

For now may we wish you a Peaceful and Prosperous Festive Season

You may also enjoy the following articles:

What to Buy for the Person who has Everything?

How to Create a Photo Gift