If you’re the guest…
Know Your Duds
Ask your host what to wear. Nothing’s more embarrassing than showing up in your old college sweatshirt to a room filled with folks in their holiday best.
Arrive on time bearing an armload of chilled bubbles. Whether your host breaks them out for the dinner, or holds them for the post-cleanup chill out, a few bottles of Champagne or Cava will be appreciated.
Roll Up Your Sleeves
Skip the half-hearted offer to help, and actually grab an apron and ask your host directly: “What can I do to help get dinner on the table?” If you’re not needed, then be sure you’re the one who helps clear the table.
Taking photos is the last thing on your host’s mind, so help capture the grand affair for them. Don’t go all paparazzi, just be sure to snap these three beauties: the set table, a group shot of everyone readying to eat and a gorgeous prepared plate. Email them, and put away the phone.
If you’re the host…
Plan Your Escape
Greet your guests with an apéritif and a nibble. Keep a few bottles of bubbly on ice and have a few plates of crudités and cheese scattered around. It ‘s a great way to say “Welcome…I’m glad you’re here, but I may need to disappear into the kitchen.”
Serve in Courses
It’s hard to get all of the food on the table at the same time. Take a little pressure off yourself by serving in three or four courses. Bonus: Grandma will be happy the family is sitting together for more than 15 minutes.
Never Stop Wining
There’s nothing worse than running out of the varieties you picked for the occasion. Count on a bottle per person. Yes, it will be too much, but only barely.
Keep the coffee carafe filled all day. Caffeine will help keep the chef on point, and guard against that one fun uncle from getting too happy.