Tips for Being the Perfect Host by Sara Syrett

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I’d heard of Sara Syrett, an interior designer, stylist, and baker, from friends who speak unequivocally about the richness of living in a small town. Her blog Twelve on Main supports their ideals, exhibiting how the farmhouse life requires nothing more than a bit of creativity in doing what you want. In case you haven’t met Sara yet, and you find yourself in the midst of planning this year’s Thanksgiving dinner party, you’re in for a treat. She stepped away from her full life on the farm for a couple of hours to share her tips for being the hostess with the mostess, and Krrb was all ears. Here are Sara’s seven tips and everything you need to host the perfect party this holiday season.

Hone the Entryway

Photo: Instagram.com/twelve.on.main/?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format

Photo: Instagram.com/twelve.on.main

“Like the opening paragraph to a book, the entryway sets the scene and mood, giving guests a glimpse of what’s to come.”

My first tip to being a perfect host is to make sure that there’s a welcoming environment for your guests to arrive into, but what does this mean? Well, a welcoming entryway can say a lot about what is to come. Having a place to sit is always a great idea when creating an entryway for your guests. Unless you’d like to watch them hop around trying to get those shoes on, seating is a must. Another item? Somewhere to hang coats and purses.

Photo: Apartmenttherapy.com

Photo: Apartmenttherapy.com

Check out this fine collection of benches and coat racks to get the party started.

Build A Roaring Fire

 

Photo: Instagram.com/twelve.on.main/?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format

Photo: Instagram.com/twelve.on.main

“A fireplace is a great place for people to gather and connect. Stories are told and friendships are deepened around a crackling fire.” 

Now, I know this is not possible for everyone, but if you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, get that thing going! I live in a pretty chilly area, and by mid-October we are using our fireplace on a daily basis. We have spent countless hours with friends and family reminiscing over old stories as the glow of the fire warms us.

Photo: Elledecor.com

Photo: Elledecor.com

Believe it or not, you can have your very own fireplace by Thanksgiving, delivery included.

Create an Inviting Centerpiece

 

Photo: Instagram.com/twelve.on.main/?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format

Photo: Instagram.com/twelve.on.main

“[A simple trick is] to use brown butcher paper as my table runner. It doubles as name cards and a fun place where children and adults can doodle and entertain themselves.”

For my table this year, I’m purposely creating a family-friendly centerpiece. If you’re going to have children at a Thanksgiving feast, an antique bowl full of white pumpkins, some homemade sweater pumpkins, and two mason jars full of fall goodness is all you need.

Photo: Twoinspiredesign.com

Photo: Twoinspiredesign.com

You can easily rack up a few different antique bowls and mason jars for cheap on Krrb.

Make Name Cards

 

Photo: Instagram.com/twelve.on.main/?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format

Photo: Instagram.com/twelve.on.main

“One of my goals is to not over complicate things.”

Set your table, and equip it with name cards. Since I used butcher paper, I used it to my advantage and created name tags on the paper. My kids loved seeing their names on the table, guiding them to their seat. Another bonus? I can throw the whole thing out when we are finished. And if someone decides to doodle a lovely picture, they can tear it out and take it home with them.

Photo: Casacullen.com

Photo: Casacullen.com

Bring In Festive Decorations

Photo: Instagram.com/twelve.on.main/?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format

Photo: Instagram.com/twelve.on.main

“This year I love using a neutral decor. It creates a feeling of calm in my world full of noise.”   

Festive holiday decor is always a must. Neutral pumpkins, combined with elements from nature, can create a fantastic fall decor for your home. I have created many items this fall to add to my farmhouse decor, from stenciled pillows, appliques, twig wreathes, and more. Overall, these projects have been quite easy to do, but the impact was huge. It doesn’t take much to fill your home with the feel of fall and Thanksgiving.

Photo: http://www.warmhotchocolate.com?auto=format

Photo: Warmhotchocolate.com

Tidy Up the Bathroom

Photo: Ourhousenowahome.com

Photo: Ourhousenowahome.com

“Some good smelling spray is always a great idea. We received some of that Poopouri as a gift from a friend, and it always makes us giggle.”

This might be icky, but have that bathroom clean and guest-ready! Believe me, I have four boys (including my hubby) who keep my bathroom duties hopping. Have plenty of toilet paper on hand, a nice clean hand towel draped on the sink, and good hand soap available. I know this seems like pretty common sense type of stuff, but really – I think sometimes this might be an area that gets overlooked with all the chaos of the holidays. Don’t strand someone inside, keep it stocked up!

Celebrate

Photo: Instagram.com/twelve.on.main/?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format?auto=format

Photo: Instagram.com/twelve.on.main

Be thankful for the chance to spend this wonderful holiday with those that you love, and show them by creating a space that will be welcoming and inviting.

My biggest and most important tip is to have a great time! If your guests can see that you are stressed and working mad like a dog, they are going to feel a little uncomfortable. Take it easy, don’t over stretch yourself! I am all too guilty of doing this. 

Your guests might remember that fantastic dish of roasted turkey or that amazing pumpkin pie, but what they will remember more is the loving and cheerful atmosphere you have created for them in your home. Relax, take time to enjoy your company, and if the rolls burn, take some humor in it instead of buying into that childlike tantrum you want to throw. Believe me, I’ve had many in my day. We need to spend more time creating memories and less time worrying and stressing. 

What makes you the perfect host is being genuine, being thoughtful, and being you.

Thanks, Sara!

 
  • Jars

    Knowing that the home is welcoming on a daily basis can alleviate last minute holiday stress – great tips!

  • Sara Syrett

    Thank you! One way I like to try to get them to take their shoes off with a little humor is to either hang a chalkboard in the entry that says something like “please remove your shoes” or I have even written “leave your shoes at the door, we don’t want them here no more”. I have a huge sarcastic side to me, so I use that to my advantage. You can even find cute sayings and printables that you could frame. It is a subtle way to hopefully get their attention:).

  • Vanessa Londono

    These tips are really helpful because I love hosting parties. I tried having a shoe-free home and found it difficult to ask people to take their shoes off before coming into my apartment. Any ideas on how to tackle this problem?