10 Holiday Hosting Mistakes That Are Made Way Too Often

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holiday hosting
Image via Iryna Yeroshko/Flickr

I remember the first time I hosted people in my apartment. I spent almost the entire time in the kitchen finishing up appetizers (my famous deviled eggs, as always), washing dishes and making sure my friends’ wine glasses were filled to the brim. It’s a classic hosting mistake that too many of us make – spending all of our time focused on the details, and none of it with our guests.

If you’re planning to have people over for the holidays, kudos! Hosting is a big job, whether you’re a newlywed with family coming over, or a single lady entertaining your closest gal pals. Not everything is going to go perfectly, but here are a few hosting no-nos you should try to avoid.

1. Not Eating All Day

Please, whatever you do, don’t forget to eat the day of your event. Even if it means taking bites of the food you’re preparing. No one is going to have a good time if you’re light headed and hangry.

2. Not Giving Good Directions

How many times has this happened to you? You’re already running a little late for an event, when your GPS app takes you to the middle of nowhere and confidently announces “your destination is on the left.” Except it isn’t, because the address you’ve been given says West, when it should say North.

Make sure you provide guests with the right address! You can even test it in your maps apps ahead of time to make sure it’s getting people to the right place. Also, make sure you have your phone nearby in case guests forgo GPS and get lost on their own.

3. Having an Unclear Theme

ugly sweater party
Image via Ramsey Mohsen/Flickr

No one wants to be the person who shows up to a cocktail party wearing an ugly sweater, or vice versa. Make sure your guests know exactly what the theme is going to be, and stick to it! You might even consider posting photos of the attire as “inspiration” on the event invite.

4. Not Being Strategic With Setup

It’s important to think about the flow of your party. If you’re in a cold-weather climate, you should have a coat rack at the entrance. If people are bringing gifts, have a clearly marked table. And always make sure there’s a clear path to food and drinks, since that’s where people like to linger.

5. Running Out of Food or Drinks

Make sure you know how many people are coming, and account for those non-committal friends who RSVP’d “maybe” just in case they show up. Use a drink calculator to help you figure out exactly what you need to buy.

6. Not Having Options for Friends/Family with Dietary Restrictions

There’s nothing more disheartening than preparing a roast and finding out three people in the room are vegetarians. Make sure you know if anyone attending has dietary restrictions. Adding it to your invites is a great way to find out. Then you can make something everyone will enjoy.

7. Trying to Coordinate Too Much

A little light entertainment is fun. A few games, a gift exchange, etc. But don’t go overboard and try to fill every minute of the night. Let your guests relax and mingle.

8. Coordinating Too Little

In the same respect, you don’t want guests to be so bored they’re browsing Instagram on their phones. Try a fun drinking game (like this Love Actually game), set up your own wine tasting, do a gift exchange or try a craft. If there will be kids at the party, make sure there are things to keep them busy, too!

9. Running Out of Supplies

If you’re using plastic cups and paper plates, make sure you’ve got some to spare. And don’t forget toiletries!

10. Forgetting to Relax

Like I said before, this is one of the biggest holiday hosting mistakes you can make. Don’t forget to have fun, socialize and enjoy your time with your friends and family.

Happy Holidays! Are you having guests over this year? Tell us what you’ve got planned in the comments below or on Twitter @Redfin.

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Natalie is Redfin's Managing Editor and oversees content planning for the Redfin blog. She edits all posts published on Redfin Real-Time, and works with guest contributors to craft expert content. Before Redfin, Natalie was a Lead Editor at SheKnows, where she helped build and scale the largest community of women writers. Her dream home would have a huge art studio and a library full of books.

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