New Year’s Diss: Why Did They Leave at 12:01?

Cherished readers, The Lady wishes you all a most Happy New Year! She was enjoying coffee and reading emails as is her habit in the morning and she found this correspondence there…sent to her at 116 AM this morning.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

I had our annual New Year’s party earlier. My husband and I invited about 40 people to celebrate with us and we had the usual food and beverages available. It took a lot of work, preparation, and planning to get things set up. The party started at 7 PM and things seemed to be going well. At 1130 we started to watch the festivities in New York and anticipated the ball drop. After much to-do and the countdown and obligatory toast to the New Year…three quarters of my guests decided to leave. The time was 12:01AM! Barely a minute past midnight!!! I am quite offended but am not sure that I should be. My husband says that it was a long evening for everyone and some of our guests needed to work today, but I cannot help but feel that it is rude to up and leave so close to midnight. May I have your thoughts? 

Ringing In The New Year With Aggravation

Dear Ringing In The New Year With Aggravation,

Ah, The Lady understands your pain. The Lady also understand the pain of those who must work or those who a bit of age on them. The Lady’s mother would often entertain on New Year’s (back in the Dark Ages known as the 80s) and would have a party much as you just described. As most of the people attending the party were older folks (by older The Lady means in their 70s and 80s) it was often the case that once the ball dropped, the champagne glasses were drained, and New Year kisses shared, these people had their coats on and were headed for the door! The Lady’s mother (indeed no one) ever complained because the family had spent an enjoyable evening in their company. The Lady begs you not to feel offended. There was nothing ill-mannered in their behavior. In fact, why not begin the New Year by extending the benefit of the doubt and being happy that you were able to share the end of one year and the start of the next in good company.

Best 2018 Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Guest’s Guide To Gift Giving

Cherished readers, as a tie-in to yesterday’s post about entertaining guests, today we shall look at the nice custom of guests bringing the hostess a small gift as a thank you for putting on a wonderful get-together.

The guest need not spend a fortune or spend an inordinate amount of time searching for the perfect gift. These types of gifts, in The Lady Hooper-Brackett’s opinion, should be simple and useful.

Some items you may wish to consider when choosing a gift for your host:

A bottle of wine

A box of chocolates

A bouquet of flowers

Some lovely cocktail napkins

A box of pretty stationery

Non-perishable foodstuffs (jams, jellies, mustards etc..) in a gift box or set.

A beautiful coffee table book (The Lady prefers photography or travel books)

Marble cheese cutter

If your host is an avid barbecuer, an apron or BBQ tool set

And because The Lady is fond of getting good deals on beautiful things….I will suggest that if you find a sale at one of the better department stores on some of the items on the list, you stock up and keep a shelf in a closet loaded with items to grab and go when you are asked over. The Lady has personally found appropriate items that any host would be proud to display at Dillard’s and Macy’s. (And though this fact will date her horribly….back in the day Filene’s had gorgeous things with which to gift your hostess!)

Best Guest Gift Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

 

 

 

Hostess Hint: Setting The Table For Guests

Cherished readers, The Lady Hooper-Brackett spoke to a group of her friends about planning ahead for entertaining for guests. One easy way to take some stress off is to set the table ahead of time. Years ago a kind older lady gave me this tip and I have used it each time I’ve had guests.

Set your complete table the day before you will be entertaining. Lay out your serving dishes on the sideboard, also. Take clear shower curtains or other clear plastic sheeting and lay it over the settings and dishes. Keeps dirt and dust off and then you merely remove right before the guests arrive.

Incidentally, if you have eager young table setters, a cute way to have them remember where the silverware is to be placed on the table is thus:

Spoon and Knife….5 letters same as RIGHT

Fork…4 letters sames as LEFT.

The Lady hopes that the youth of the world will be as interested in good table settings. It is a nicety that we should all revisit in the civilized world.

Best Table Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Guest Towels in the Bathroom: Are They Off Limits?

Cherished readers, it is always an adventure to settle down with my cup of coffee in the morning and read through my emails to see what is concerning my darling friends. I came across an interesting problem this morning.

My friend went to a First Communion party at her niece’s house and when she used the bathroom facilities, was dumbstruck that her niece had only provided a small hand towel for the fifty or so guests that she had in her home. Her shock did not come from the fact that there was only one towel, however. The shock came from seeing others using the facilities and then discovering that the towel was perfectly dry…it had not been used! She found wet spots near the sink and the soap was wet, so hands seemed to be washed…so why not use the towel?

The Lady Hooper-Brackett can recall a time in her childhood when she was admonished by her dear mother to not use the ‘guest towels’ that were specially hung on a bar near the sink. So, I never used them. She had elevated them to sacred status in my impressionable mind. For years, even when using the facilities in other’s homes, I avoided touching the guest towels and wiped my hands on my pants! (Yes, I know…the horror of it!!!)

I believe that there can be a solution to this problem, however.

  1. Provide enough small washcloths for a couple of dozen to use. A beautiful stack right next to the sink. As the host, you use the first one…crumple it up, place it in a basket near the sink, and hope that this subtle message tells other guests…it is OK to use the towels! They are no longer sacred and off limits!
  2. Get a festive box of disposable paper towels and leave them near the sink. Perhaps guests do not want to feel that are creating more laundry for the host, but will feel free to use paper towels.
  3. Leave no towel in the guest bath at all, after all no one is using it anyway.

Best Clean Hand Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

The Impeccable Host: Entertaining With Grace

Cherished readers, the weather is getting warmer and I am sure that everyone is ready to entertain! But, The Lady Hooper-Brackett wonders if you know all that you could know about being the host with flair and grace? Let us explore…

The Host(ess) with the Most(est) According to the Lady Hooper-Brackett

Your smiling face should be the first thing that a guest sees when they enter your home. Greet everyone warmly and promptly.

Have a serving table nearby where arrivals can take a glass or a little morsel to eat.

Be prepared if someone hands you a hostess gift. Don’t try to balance them in your hands. Decorate a small table and use for the purpose of placing the gifts.

Take coats and wraps from your guests, place them in a closet or in the bedroom. At no times should a pile of coats be visible to arriving guests.

Be sure to introduce those who are arriving to those guests who are already there and make sure that all guests are making conversation and enjoying themselves. It is also your responsibility to diffuse hot topics and turn them to acceptable topics. See my earlier post on DANGER Topics.

Keep an eye on the refreshing offerings, making sure there is enough out for everyone.

If you are serving a seated, several course meal, place cards are a wonderful touch.

Relax and enjoy the evening! Remember you set the tone for your guests.

The Lady hopes that you will be the ultimate in graciousness and ease when you welcome your own cherished friends to your abode.

Best Hostess Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett