Jennifer Scott is a breath of fresh air—an etiquette expert for the 21st century. She takes the wisdom gleaned from her time living in Paris with Madame Chic, and applies it with everyday friendliness like the Southern California native she is. We spent some time talking to Jennifer about her shortcuts for being the best hostess with the least anxiety.
It’s a joyful thing to bring people into your home, especially around the holidays.
We all get nervous about hosting—what our home looks like, or if the food will taste good. This is so anxiety-inducing that some people avoid hosting completely. Just enjoy yourself. Once the guests arrive, let go of all your worries; simply be present with them and have fun. They are there to enjoy your company. Nobody is judging. People are just happy to be invited.
- Get Rid of Clutter. We’re all self-conscious about our homes. The solution: be ruthless. Look around with fresh eyes, and clear your home of unnecessary clutter. Especially when you decorate for the holidays, you don’t want to decorate on top of clutter. Even if this means removing a lamp or photograph temporarily and putting the holiday item in its place, once you make everything clutter-free, you’ll feel more confident about your home. It’s easier to be festive once that worry is gone.
- Make Drinks Ahead of Time. I’ve been to way too many parties where I’m not offered anything for the longest time; it’s my pet peeve, though it’s totally understandable! People begin to arrive and you have so much on your mind, that you forget to offer them a drink. Instead, make the drinks accessible where your guests can see them. If you can’t offer a beverage to everyone personally, have a pitcher or bowl with glasses around it. People feel instantly at ease when they’re holding something.
- Set the table the night before. The easiest task you can cross off your checklist: simply set the table the night before.
- Have An Outfit Planned. This happens all the time: you go to a party and the hostess is totally frazzled, just getting ready as you arrive. Quite often, they don’t realize how long the cooking will take or build in time for the unexpected. I always recommend choosing your outfit early, and laying it out. Don’t forget to have a plan for your hair and makeup too, and get it done early, if you can.
Jennifer has lots more great ideas, tips, and advice. Find her books, including her newest, Polish Your Poise With Madame Chic, here. Or, visit The Daily Connoiseur, her youtube channel, for her charming and informative videos. Cover illustration by Virginia Johnson. All other illustrations by Chad Gordon.