Having just recovered spoons from the Thanksgiving festivities, it is now time for another round! With the solstice just past, Chanukkah just beginning, Christmas and Kwanzaa around the corner… not to mention New Year’s Eve! Whether you’re celebrating a holiday, embracing the new season, or simply making use of time off to visit with loved ones, this week is likely a busy one!
We want to shout out all of the hosts out there. It’s one thing to make time for feasts, and another entirely to create them! We know how hard you work and the care you put into making everyone feel welcomed.
It can be challenging to create a space, time, and menu that fits everyone’s diverse needs. When you’re the one responsible, it can also add an emotional toll of worrying that you will disappoint someone.
We’re here to help! We’ll offer tips for how to set up an accommodating atmosphere, and also how to communicate in those tricky moments. But most importantly, we want you to know that, if you do mess up, it’s ok! We are all human. You can’t possibly know and do everything. The important thing is that you communicate through these (inevitable) failures. Often hosts will feel guilty and end up acting cold and distant to the affected guests, or simply avoiding the topic altogether. This only further alienates the loved ones who need the most acceptance.
If you do mess up (again, it’s probably going to happen!), try approaching the guests affected and admitting that you flubbed. Maybe you didn’t set up the table in a wheel-chair accessible way, or you didn’t remember to avoid garlic in the side dishes. Maybe you forgot to check in on a relative who lost someone last December and could use some extra support. Whatever it is, be open and honest. Offer a genuine apology, and ask if there is anything you can do differently now or in the future to make it better. Let them be hurt or disappointed without getting defensive — they may just need to express their feelings in order to no longer feel them! And then move on. There’s no need to carry your feelings of embarrassment or guilt throughout the party.
Now that you are hopefully less afraid of making mistakes, here are some things you can do to make your event even better!