30 signs that you are a dream host
| 20th November 2019
Having the perfect playlist, defusing awkward conversations – and keeping the WiFi password on hand are among the signs you are a perfect host.
A study revealed the top 30 traits of those who have perfected the art of hosting parties or informal gatherings at home – including some uniquely modern trends.
The ‘host with the most’ will serve up beautifully presented dishes even if they’ve ‘cheated’ in the kitchen and won’t make a fuss if anything is broken or spilled.
Keeping the kids’ toys tidied away and using home décor as a talking point also featured as traits of the ideal host, according to the research by home furnishings retailer Dunelm.
It also emerged Christmas is the most common time of year to host guests, followed by birthdays, family catch-ups or a big Sunday roast.
But a third admitted to finding hosting a meal at Christmas more stressful than any other occasion, with 72 per cent blaming the pressure for it to be ‘perfect’.
As a result, one in five start to plan the meal more than two months in advance.
Etiquette expert Jo Bryant said: “Long gone are the days of starched tablecloths and fussy three-course menus, but we still can feel pressure to make everything perfect. Instead, aim to do less – and do it better.
“At Christmas, don’t be a martyr and try to run everything single-handedly.
“It can be helpful to give individuals specific jobs upfront, so everyone feels involved and you don’t feel overwhelmed.
“Have the confidence to decide you’re skipping starters or let your guests bring pudding – and pay attention to the more thoughtful details that show you’ve made an effort, like stocking up on a drink you know is a guest’s favourite or using fresh flowers to make the table feel extra special.
“Consider inviting one or two close friends to come over early, and pop the music on in good time, so when the other guests arrive the atmosphere will already feel like a party.”
The study, which looked at modern-day trends in home entertaining, also found that while one in four adults believe they’re an ‘excellent’ host, a fifth describe themselves as lacking confidence.
And a third worry they don’t have the space in their home.
It also emerged one in four think it’s perfectly fine to order takeaway for their guests, rather than cooking.
Although a fifth of hosts polled believe the rise of social media and people posting on Instagram means they need to make more of an effort on presentation.
Hosts are also less likely to call the event a ‘dinner party’ than in the past, but are more likely to plan themed music playlists and choose informal dining options, such as sharing plates over serving traditional three course menus.
A spokesman for Dunelm added: “It might feel like there’s a thousand things to consider when hosting in your home, but don’t let it stress you out – and don’t be put off if you don’t have a huge space to entertain.
“Our customers look to us for inspiration for their homes to fit around their lives – with a coffee table that can convert to a dining table and seating with secret storage, you might find you have more room than you think.”
THE TOP SIGNS OF A DREAM HOST
1. Keeps the conversation flowing
2. Offers guests a drink soon after they arrive
3. Makes sure guests don’t have to wait too long before food is served
4. Has a clean and tidy home
5. Doesn’t making a fuss if anything gets broken or spilled
6. Has a great selection of drinks – from soft drinks to beers, wines and spirits
7. Ensures all guest have a comfortable place to sit
8. Offers to take people’s coats
9. Has options for all dietary requirements
10. Presents food nicely – whether they’ve cooked it from scratch or ‘cheated’
11. Spends more time with guests than in the kitchen
12. Defuses any awkwardness or questionable things said by guests
13. Sits the right people next to each other to create good conversation
14. Remembers your dietary preferences
15. Tops up guests’ drinks before they even need to ask
16. Serves courses on time
17. Plans games and activities – but doesn’t force them on guests
18. Has the perfect playlist for the occasion
19. Knows what wine accompanies each course perfectly
20. Lets other people bring things (salads, puddings) to share the load
21. Having a fully-stocked drinks trolley
22. Gives guests the WiFi password
23. Has the right glassware for all types of drinks such as tumblers for spirits and flutes for champagne
24. Can guess everyone’s drink without asking
25. Keeps kids’ toys tidied out of sight
26. Uses special serving plates for the occasion
27. Cooks with unusual or creative menu ingredients
28. Decorates their home in such a way as to create talking points for guests
29. Personalises name settings
30. Books a babysitter or entertainment for kids.