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“Don’t we all secretly wish for a Currier & Ives-like world where our homes are warm and peaceful and the people in them courteous, compassionate, loving and happy?” – Kathy Bertone, The Art Of the Visit

It sometimes appears as though there are two types of holiday entertainers: those who have unrealistic expectations and those who have no expectations at all; neither type makes a good host. Strive to fall somewhere in the middle; enjoy yourself and make your guests feel welcome.

Those with unrealistic expectations are too busy to enjoy the festivities and can make their guests feel stressed; those with no expectations fail to make the event meaningful for their guests in their lack of planning.

I love to have a small pot with simmering apple, cinnamon, and vanilla on the stove so, when guests arrive, the house smells warm and inviting! Don’t forget to have soft music playing in the background.

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For the table, I like to have a few votive candles that I can add a touch of nutmeg to and keep the seasonal aroma long after the meal is finished.

To be a proper host, have a few plans for the celebration, but remember that your guests are more important than how you think things should go. Have as much done and prepared ahead of their arrival time as possible; let others help with tasks, but ensure there’s not too much left to do or everyone will be worn out. Let your guests be inspired to do things—chess, anyone? Or simply provide a warm, cozy atmosphere for visiting.

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Your guests arriving hungry is a great compliment, displaying their trust in your cooking ability and generosity as a host. If you are going to be too busy preparing the main meal to fix light snacks, pick up a tray or two of dainties from a little shop: you have reduced your stress and enhanced your reputation as a great host!

Sometimes I don’t get as much baking done as I would like, so I don’t always send home fresh-baked pumpkin bread with my guests; on those occasions, I have found it’s just as nice to keep two platters of home-made candy by the front door so, as guests leave, they can take a little sweet treat with them as one more thank-you for having come.

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Beautiful truffles are the easiest candy to make. Just take a container of your favorite frosting and scoop a bite-size amount; roll to make even then roll in powdered sugar, cocoa or drizzle more chocolate over. Your guests will love them!

Just remember that entertaining is about sharing joy with those you love, not impressing them.

For other holiday entertaining ideas, be sure to visit our boards on Pinterest for my favorite ideas and tricks! And if you need a little help getting your house holiday guest-ready, Margaret McHenry Maids can help you with house cleaning services in Wichita.

At Your Service,
Kandi Turner

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