Let guests help and lighten the load at parties
During the holidays, you can use the extra assistance
In the past, I said: "No, thanks. Of course not. Relax."
Now I say: "Sure. Absolutely."
When a guest offers to help — and they will during the holidays — I no longer insist that they leave the kitchen and join the action in other rooms. Instead, I use the offer as an excuse to spend extra time with the guest.
But what to assign? The task should not be too menial, nor too complicated. And the work should matter.
Drying dishes, for instance, won't ruin someone's carefully composed look, and it frees up serviceware. In transition from prep to heat, a little volunteer slicing and dicing should not be scorned. Guests come in quite handy during plating and serving. You can even set up an improvised assembly line.
Reader Angela D. Jenkins-Bey also condones guests setting the table, opening the wine or checking on the door.
"There are always little things a helpful guest can do," reader Kate Meehan adds. "Playing bartender, restocking food on a buffet, tending a fire in the fireplace. Each element allows a guest to feel like they're participating in hosting, gives them a sense of ownership in the party's success and frees your attention for actually enjoying your party."
Sounds like a plan.