It’s back to school time for many, which reminded me of a few requests that have come my way about “learning” to entertain. People often tell me that they shy away from the idea of entertaining because they have either never done it before, or avoid it because they find the experience overwhelming and intimidating. Don’t let this keep you from the joy of entertaining in your home! The key to being comfortable with having guests in your home is to start small and build on your successes one step at a time. In that way, it’s a bit like school. No one expects you to do Calculus on your first day! Build on your experience and add a bit more knowledge and expertise as you go along.
I have been writing for the At Home Victoria magazine this past year and am having such fun with my column called “Entertain with Dorothy.” In my first article I addressed the concerns that people often have, so I thought I’d share a few of these ideas with you and hope that it inspires you! As Jane Austen once stated, “There’s nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”
For the absolute beginner: Here are a few tried and true ideas for entertaining in your home. Virtually no stress and very little prep involved.
- Cozy cocktails: Organize a pre-dinner gathering at your home prior to heading out to your favourite restaurant with friends. This is a easy way to practice having guests in your home without feeling overwhelmed. Have your friends over for cocktails and appetizers; offer a glass of wine or champagne or try out a new martini. Combine that with some crackers and baked brie (or any appetizer of your choice) and voila, you’re done. There are so many appetizers that you can pick up at the store, Costco, deli, etc. you don’t even need to make it yourself. Don’t forget to blow out the candles before you leave for dinner or the movies.
- The Coffee Klatsch: I love the German phrase “Kaffeeklatsch” which evokes the idea of sitting around a table, drinking coffee, while enjoying food and interesting conversation. Instead of meeting your friends at a coffee shop, invite them over on a Saturday morning! Visit the bakery, stock up on cinnamon buns, scones, Danishes, etc. Add a fruit plate and some freshly squeezed orange juice and put the coffee pot on! Your friends will love being in the comfort of your home. Beats Starbucks any day.
- Appies and wine: Here’s an easy way to have friends in your home for the evening without spending hours of prepping. Simply ask each guest to bring an appetizer and their favourite bottle of wine. This makes your evening both simple and inexpensive. If you like, prepare a tray of bite size desserts (you can opt to buy these as well) for those that may want something sweeter later on. Put on some music, light the candles, and enjoy great conversation.
Your home is truly an expression of who you are and entertaining in your own space should be a natural extension of your personality. Don’t be afraid to open up to the many new possibilities that are certain to be unexpectedly rewarding when you open the door to your home.
Look for other creative entertaining ideas featured in my past posts and I’ll be sharing new ideas in future posts. I’ll talk about organizing potlucks and using local delis, meat markets, bakeries, etc. to create a wonderful evening at home. Eventually we’ll even try more challenging ideas. Most importantly, have fun with entertaining and find “any excuse for a party”!!!