Avoid HHD This Party Season

8 Dec

HHD: Holiday Hosting Disaster

This is a follow-up to my Hostess With the Mostess post, and one I hope will help you dodge disaster this holiday season. When all else fails, revert to the Charlie Sheen Appetizer and pray for the best.

Scenario: Your cheap-ass guests didn’t bring wine or booze — and you assumed they’d contribute, so you didn’t fully restock the Wild Turkey or White Zin.

Solution: It’s “party punch” time! Mix what you have in a big bowl. Add juice and cut up fruit. Serve. And make sure to have the local taxi service number on hand for when cheap-arse guests become cheap-arse drunkards.

Lesson learned? ALWAYS have enough alcohol on hand for a party. Whatever your guests bring should be gifts, not contributions. Ya’ hear?

Scenario: You were too busy making last-minute party punch and forgot about the hors d’ouvres in the oven. Now they are charred beyond recognition.

Solution: Delivery. Crack open the menus and order up some dosas and dumplings. Sure, they may take 30 minutes or so to arrive, but this is the perfect opportunity to distract everyone by allowing your inappropriate friend tell all of those inappropriate jokes you’re always cringing at.

Lesson learned? Don’t let the majority of your party food be hot hors d’ouvres. Think about things you can prepare ahead,  so you’re not caught in a lurch when your guests start arriving!

Scenario: Someone spills red wine on your new white sofa.

Solution: Don’t serve red wine. At large parties, it’s best to ply people with clear fluids.* Think champagne, white wine, gin and tonics and vodka martinis. Sure, you’ll have a few guests who will be momentarily ticked off they can’t enjoy a glass of Cab. Just point them to the Charlie Sheen appetizers and all will be forgiven.

*Note: this solution doesn’t work so well if you’ve been forced to make the “party punch” mentioned above. In which case, if someone spills red wine (or punch) on your new white sofa, just cry . 

Lesson learned? White sofas are never a good idea, unless you’re a recluse hermit with an OCD cleaning habit. If there is the slightest chance your home will be infiltrated with kids, dogs, cats, gerbils, weird uncles or guests of any kind, and you like the clean, minimalist look, go for linen colored slipcovers.

Scenario: Someone brought their kids to your holiday hangover-inducing extravaganza. Seriously.

Solution: This is a good reason to have some of the neighborhood kids’ on your radar. Call around and see if you can get a last minute mother’s helper or babysitter for a few hours. Offer to pay $20/hr. I think the going rate around these parts seems to be between $10-15, but hey – you’re calling last-minute, and money talks. Ask the sitter to keep the kids occupied away from the party, maybe watching a movie, or playing board games. Remember to check in on them every 25 minutes or so. Twenty five minutes in kid time is major.

Lesson learned? Strike up casual convos the week leading up to your party with all of your “parent” guests inquiring if they found a babysitter for party night. Or only invite single, non-parent friends. They’re more fun anyway.

Scenario: Two of your guests get into a “spirited” debate about politics, religion, or the religion of politics.

Solution: Drop something, spill something, or knock something off a shelf. (Go for the unbreakables, obviously.) The objective here is to cut the tension and turn people’s attention to something else. Chances are, once they scurry to help you out, they will realize the whole “wrong time, wrong place” thing and change the subject.

Lesson learned? There isn’t one, really. This is an inevitable fact of parties and gatherings. Just go with it and hope it ends with as few casualties as possible.

May the season be merry and bright. May your fireplace always be crackling. May your cup always be full. May your parties be great successes, and may you avoid HHD. Happy Holidays!

Have your own HHD tip or story to share? By all means!

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One Response to “Avoid HHD This Party Season”

  1. Frankie Walnuts December 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    Where is the “You discover two (or more) of your guests doing sweaty-sexy-time in your bed” scenario? Those always seem to happen at my holiday parties, and I never know just what to do.

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