Here are some sneaky ways to have your guests help, really help, without them becoming a nuisance.
It is only polite to offer your services to the host or hostess when you arrive. Guests want to feel helpful and show their appreciation for the invite. Unfortunately, too much help in the kitchen can cause havoc, delay dinner and in general not be helpful. Still, you want your guests to feel happy and part of the party.
Step Away From the Kitchen
Move as many activities away from the kitchen as possible. For example, set up a drink serving station in the dining room, living room or other space. Outfit it with beverages, glasses, ice, napkins and anything else that is needed. When a guest asks what he or she can do to help, ask them to mind the station and help serve drinks.
Accepting Dishes the Smart Way
When someone asks if they can bring a side dish, a desert or an appetizer, by all means say yes, but ask if they wouldn’t mind either bringing something cold or room temperature, or including a crockpot with their hot dish. Explain that you have limited oven space for heating.
Designate a Surrogate Host
Guests just want to be with you, especially when they first arrive. To keep them out of the kitchen, and to be a good host, spend a few moments with them in the living room and introduce them to other guests. Designate another guest at the party to be a surrogate host while you finish up those last minute cooking tasks.
Create Atmosphere Somewhere Else
The kitchen can seem like a warm and inviting place, especially if the living room or party room is filled with strangers. By creating some atmosphere outside of the kitchen, you are encouraging your guests to enjoy the party. Use dim lighting and candles, light the fireplace and play some background music.
Create a Contest
First one to bother the cook loses. Just kidding Build in a fun activity with some friendly competition that requires everyone to participate. Assign guests to teams and have them compete to see who can decorate the best pre-made gingerbread house, craft an ornament, make the most outrageous Hallmark card, etc.
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