The new year is literally around the corner! Maybe it’s my southern roots, maybe it’s my personality – whatever it is – I enjoy having people over from time to time. But my favorite part is planning it all out and then watching everyone enjoy themselves. There are a few simple things that really impact the direction a gathering is going to go. I’m sharing a few quick tips that I’ve found could either liven or completely squash your get together.
This one is first because I think it is the most important. Maybe you’ve never considered the impact of background music, but if you stop to think about how distracting death metal would be during Thanksgiving dinner…well you would consider it pretty quickly. Music is not always a must but I find it’s a nice way to keep the conversations flowing, especially around people who don’t know each other very well. Awkward silence between strangers is so much louder without music to smooth over everyone’s need to say something brilliant. Not only is genre important but volume is just as important. Although country music tends to be my go to during an outdoor bbq in the middle of the summer, I still don’t want to yell over my hotdog to catch up with my friends. Spotify is the only thing I use for music. You can create your own playlists and I’ve found great playlists from other users who get the idea. Jazz is great for nice dinners, 80s & 90s music rocks the speakers when our friends come over to play cards or just hang out, country music or 80s rock always keeps the bbq going, and a scattered list of hits and alternative makes any bonfire feel nostalgic. Try it out! Experiment! Music is always your best friend when you bring people together.
It’s pretty simple, it has to fit the occasion. If I’m going to cook a big dinner for friends, I make sure to ask them to bring something that will compliment what we’re already having. The same goes for when I go to someone’s house for dinner. Finger foods are great when you’re just having people over to hang out and burgers are a cheap and easy way to feed a bunch of people if you’re having your gathering outside. Whatever you do, don’t overthink the food. On a side note, this is not the time to try new recipes and experiment. That almost never works out the way you want it to – trust me.
This one is not a joke. Have you ever gone to someone’s home and it smelled like wet dog? Dirty diapers? Fish? Their favorite gardenia candle that gives you the worst headache? Yea, smells are super important when you plan on filling the house with a handful of people. I always like my potent smell to be in the bathroom (so people can poop without the guilt) and lighter smells through out the house. Apples, cinnamon, vanilla and so on are great smells that most everyone likes without rendering someone sick with a headache. Stay away from incense! (sorry Carlos) My love always burns this crap. I don’t care how much he spent on it or where he gets it, it always smells the same and it’s always a horribly harsh smell. I literally lock myself in the bedroom because, you know, compromise and all. If you’re going to spray something, light a candle, or set essential oils on fire, keep in mind that you won’t be the only one trapped in that smell – so make it a good one!
Where you choose to bring everyone together could be your best idea or your worst nightmare. A freezing windy day in December is not the brilliant time to make everyone sit outside on your back porch with your tiny fire pit going – no – do not do that. On the other side of that, 100 degree weather is not an invitation to make your guests sit in the sun while your hot grill pumps out hamburgers. Some of us sweat, I am thick, this is not fun for me. Ok you can stop laughing, you know where I am coming from ladies! If it’s not a pool party then I don’t want chapped thighs. #sorrynotsorry Maybe an open porch where you can circulate some air and at least afford some shade would be a compromise – just an idea. To put it plainly, if you invited everyone over then you’re responsible for some form of comfort.
*Think of everyone (like kids)*
So firstly, kids with nothing to do become a crying, angry mess really quick. It’s aggravating to have friends over and one of them can’t even enjoy themselves because their child has nothing to do and so they relentlessly annoy their parent. If you know you’re going to have children coming over, find something for them to do. I have gone on Pinterest and printed out coloring sheets. I’ve gone to Five Below and invested in lawn games. I’ve bought snacks and lined up movies on the kids’ tv for quick and easy distraction. Sometimes parents need a break, sometimes your gathering is their break, help them with their break.
*It’s the little things*
I like to think of the little things as the nice little thoughtful touches that no one would expect. For example, everyone was thrilled about to go boxes for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. It cost literally $6 for a pack of six and everyone got to take their favorite stuff home. Serving special cocktails are always fun for a get together – and you can teach your friends how to make their own. I’ve even bought cute wine glasses for my ladies to take home with them after a party. It’s all in the “little” things whether that is blankets set out on your porch for guests, extra tissue boxes around the house because there are kids coming over and it’s booger season, kid friendly cups, or a new dog toy for a furry friend that’s tagging along with your guests.
Inviting everyone is the easy part. It’s up to you to create the experience, the memories, and the atmosphere. Have fun with it! Let your personality shine here, having friends over is supposed to be fun so don’t stress on it.
Happy New Year! ❤