With Easter right around the corner, I’m sure everyone is thinking along the lines of, A) I’m going to have to host Easter this year, B) I can’t wait to host Easter this year!, or C) I hope someone invites me to their Easter festivities this year.
Last year I found myself somewhere in between camps A and B. As a newlywed I had never hosted a holiday soiree and had no idea what I was getting myself into. The smile on my face and the exclamation point in my invitation said, I can’t wait to host Easter this year! but the lump in my throat and the butterflies in my stomach said, I guess this is it, I’m going to have to host Easter this year.
Amidst the seventeen wonderful guests, the delicious food, and all the inevitable mess, I managed to collect a few thoughts and reflections. And now that I’ve done it once, I find myself eager to do it again! Whether you’re a veteran host or find yourself in new territory about to host for the first time, I hope that you’ll find these five tips insightful and encouraging!
1. Collaborate on the meal.
If you’re like me, you love to cook. And bake. And you’re a control freak. And a pinterest freak. I know what you’re thinking… I’ll just make it easier on everyone and— Stop! Stop right there before you start sending recipes to everyone on your guest list. For goodness sake, if you’re going to collaborate on the meal, let people bring what they want to bring! Maybe they’re not as comfortable in the kitchen as you and would crumble under pressure trying to make your perfect banana pudding or maybe they have a family recipe they’re just dying to share with the world. Regardless, your guests will eat, drink and be merry without your controlling hand. And you’ll be SO glad you don’t have five plus dishes to prep while five more are in the oven. Practically speaking though, I find it smart to take on at least some of the drinks (and an appetizer or two) in case some guests arrive before your designated drink (apps) girl. Also, since the meat needs to be hot up until you eat, take charge of cooking that too. That leaves sides, salads, desserts and more to be carried in by your guests.
2. Decorate simply.
Don’t worry about getting every room in your house styled just right. Focus on a few key pieces and you’ll inspire your guests. And let me just say, two-dozen tulips go a long way! Add a little chalkboard art, a festive (floral or pastel-colored) bunting, some gold chargers and you’re good to go!
3. Have fun.
Fun on Easter doesn’t have to mean a creepy guy in an Easter Bunny suit or food coloring and hard-boiled eggs. What I mean here is get a little cheery with a few games. And not just for kids, for adults too! Last year we had an Easter Egg hunt for the kids, put on by my gracious mother who loves splurging on candy just to earn a few points from her nieces and nephews. But let’s face it, the kiddos in your life have probably already had an egg hunt or two. Tis the season! So if you’d rather not spend a fortune on things to stuff the eggs with, and would like to fore-go a devastating trip to the dentist, instead, play a game of pin- the-tail-on-the-bunny or do an egg-in-a-spoon relay. Heck, this year I plan on going all out in the backyard game department! We’re talking potato sack races, spin around a baseball bat, “fluffy bunny…” I can see it now!
4. Make new traditions.
I mentioned games for the adults. Now to be clear, I see nothing and I mean nothing wrong with getting the adults in on the aforementioned action of backyard games. However! My parents started a family tradition a few years ago that can’t go unmentioned as it has become a favorite among the adults—both family and friends—and has even spilled over to our Christmas tradition. All of the adults gather around and mom and dad pass a bowl with color-coded (by round) eggs. Before everyone opens their eggs, we get a chance to swap eggs with one person. On “go,” we open and find a monetary treat! Each person with different denominations… hence the excitement of trading eggs with someone for the off chance they have something better than you. This goes on for a few more rounds… and in the end, there’s technically a winner, but EVERYONE is happy! This may not work for you and yours due to budget or interest and if so, that’s okay! But do, please do, start a fresh tradition. Traditions = memories, right?!
5. Let it be.
Drinks will be spilled. Scuffs will be made. Fingerprints will abound. Something will be lacking. Y’all, laugh it off. Enjoy your guests. If every hostess lingered in the details and in the maintenance of her perfect utopia, all that would be left is exhaustion, disappointment, and a lack of memories. The mess can be tended to later. You can be certain everyone has eaten their hearts out and had a great time. Let. It. Be.
Most of all, remember that Easter is meant to celebrate our life in Christ. He gave up his life… his comfort, his fun, his friends, ultimately his royal seat in Heaven, so that we could enjoy relationship with the Father. Easter is a reminder of the chance we were given for newness of life, made possible by Jesus. Like spring means new life—new blooms, new leaves, new beauty, so does Easter. “Behold, He makes all things new!” Revelations 21: