Fourth of July Entertaining Tips

Fourth of July Entertaining Tips

Fourth of July Entertaining Tips

The high holiday of summer entertaining is upon us, *wink! Who can resist an Independence Day party? If you are hosting this year, this guide is for you.

Fourth of July Decor & Table Setting

If you know me, you know I *love* any excuse to decorate! Red, white, blue, stars, and stripes are the mood of the day but that does not mean you have to go out and buy a whole set of 4th of July themed decor. Classic patterns such as gingham and stripes evoke a summer feeling without being too on-the-nose.

4th of July Table Decoration

Your choice of flowers will bring your design together, too. For this table, I chose red anemones, courtesy of my dear Fairbanks Florist, for a pop of color. Plus, those bold centers feel a bit like fireworks to me! 

Now on the subject of bunting… There is never enough! *wink 


Outdoor Entertaining Tips for the Fourth of July

Outdoor Entertaining on the 4th of July

Chances are, when you picture a Fourth of July party, you are imagining an outdoor gathering.  Independence Day is peak summer entertaining which means a few considerations should be made:

1. Avoid burns and bites.

Have sunscreen and bug spray on-hand and easily accessible to your guests. A cute basket filled with helpful products will go a long way in keeping guests safe and comfortable.

2. Keep Guests Dry.

Provide plenty of fresh, fluffy towels for guests to use if swimming is involved.

3. Prioritize *Cold* Beverages.

Coolers and ice buckets are a summer entertainer’s best friend. Pro Tip: an ice bucket is more effective when water is mixed in as it is a better conductor than ice alone. Adding a pinch or two of salt to the mix is even better!

4. Make Food Safety a Top Priority.

Take care with foods that can go bad in the heat. Keep cold foods cold, especially seafood and dairy-based dishes. Covering dishes to protect them from bugs is an additional precaution, primarily for guest comfort over contamination!

5. Comfort is Key.

If the party is going into the evening, have blankets available in case guests catch a chill. This is certainly not necessary here in Orlando, but more northern states will cool off when the evening comes.

6. Practice Mosquito Control.

Is your yard mosquito-proofed? No one wants to spend the evening being bit by hungry mosquitos. Treat your yard prior to the party and be sure to place some citronella candles or mosquito prevention tech around the yard.

7. Ask your guests about dietary requirements in advance.

And plan your menu accordingly. For example, thoughtful purchases such as veggie burgers and vegan cheese for your plant-based friend will help them to feel included and valued.

8. Avoid cross contamination when grilling.

When choosing what goes where on the barbecue, take care with allergens where possible. If a friend is allergic to shellfish, cook the shrimp after the burgers to avoid a medical emergency

9. Include non-alcoholic drink options.

For your friends who may choose not to imbibe, have plenty of fresh iced tea, soft drinks, or similar alcohol-free drink options on hand. If you are making a signature cocktail for the party, consider making an alcohol-free mocktail version too! Remember, it is never acceptable to ask why a person is not drinking.

10. Plan activities for children.

If you are hosting a child-friendly party, make sure to include games, activities, and kid-friendly foods to keep them happily occupied.

 

Flag Etiquette 

Independence Day and the American Flag are practically synonymous and you will surely want to include one in your 4th of July decorating. Keep these flag etiquette rules in mind to avoid a faux pas. 

  1. The union (stars), should always be in the upper left, whether on a flagpole or hanging vertically. 
  2. Ensure your flag is in good condition, not faded or tattered, as a sign of respect.
  3. The flag should never be flown after dark, unless illuminated by a light source. 
  4. Never let the American flag touch the ground. 

A Note On Fireworks… 

First and foremost, respect the law. If fireworks are illegal within your city limits, do not use them. Often there is good reason for these rules, such as areas where brush fires are common or population density and safety concerns. 

If fireworks are legal in your area, be considerate. Excessively loud fireworks can frighten pets, children, and adults who suffer from mental health concerns such as PTSD. 

Sparklers are forever my preference as they are quiet and very safe when used correctly. Attending a fireworks display is the safest way to enjoy (and the fireworks themselves are much more impressive, anyway!)

If you do choose to light fireworks, do so with utmost safety in mind for yourself, others, and nearby property. Your window of acceptable time for lighting fireworks is the evening of July 4th. Fireworks should end between 9-10pm out of courtesy to your neighbors and should not be lit for days before or after the holiday. Be sure to clean up any debris caused by your fireworks. And remember, inebriation and pyrotechnics are certainly not friends.

 

Driving Safely

Encourage guests to Uber to and from your party if you know it will be a big drinking day.

 

Pool Safety 

If children are present and using the pool, the best possible option is to hire a lifeguard. This will allow everyone to enjoy themselves with less worry. However, if this is not possible, consider having parents trade off with each other to monitor the children in the pool. Having a designated “watcher” is much safer than a joint effort where responsibility is shared. 

Young children who are not strong or experienced swimmers should be in proper safety gear, including life vests and floaties.

Thanksgiving Etiquette Tips for Hosts and Guests

Thanksgiving Etiquette Tips for Hosts and Guests

Thanksgiving Hosting and Guest Etiquette Tips

Whether you are hosting or attending, holidays such as Thanksgiving should carry certain formalities and courtesies. Following good host and guest etiquette leaves a lasting impression and ensures that fun can be had by all. 

Thanksgiving Etiquette Tips for Hosts

Taking on the role of the host is quite the responsibility. Whether you are catering to a small group of four or a large extended family and friends, organization and firm boundaries are your friends here.

  1. Ask about dietary requirements in advance. It is crucial to check whether your guests have allergenic, religious, or personal dietary requirements. If a guest is vegan for example, and you plan to put pork in the green beans, you will need to take care to not only make a separate batch but ideally use separate cooking utensils to avoid cross-contamination too. Respecting a guest’s dietary requirements is a great courtesy that requires prior planning. 
  2. Have your guests arrive an hour before you intend to serve the meal. This allows time for mingling and a cocktail while you put together final touches, and accounts for anyone who may be running behind. 
  3. Ask for help if you need it to get dinner out on time. There is no award for martyrdom when it comes to hosting! No one wants to be the frantic, frazzled host (nor do guests want to experience this).
  4. If a guest refuses alcohol, do not pry or pressure them to partake. Likewise, apart from asking about dietary restrictions and accommodating them, do not ask for the “why” behind their personal choices. 
  5. As a host, it is your role to guide table conversation when necessary. If a controversial topic comes up, be direct and change the subject before things get out of hand. Maintaining and communicating a rule of no politics at the holiday table will ensure everyone stays comfortable despite differing viewpoints. 
  6. Apart from clearing the table, wait until after guests have left to begin cleaning up. Nothing spoils the fun faster than the clanging of dishes! 

 

Thanksgiving Etiquette Tips for Guests

We all want to be good guests when attending an event or visiting a person’s home. Keeping these tips in mind for Thanksgiving and the holiday season alike will always leave a positive impression.

  1. Arrive on time. This goes for any occasion. As a guest, it is important to arrive on time for any event, but particularly when someone is cooking for you. Arrive early and you may catch your host during last-minute preparations. Arrive late and you may cause everyone to wait for you. Your host is working hard on multiple dishes and timing them so they are all ready at the same time. It is a balancing act in itself, try not to create added stress by arriving too early or late. 
  2. Ask what you can bring. If your host declines, bring a small hostess gift such as a scented candle. If you opt to bring flowers, make sure they are in a vase. The last thing your hosts need as guests are arriving is to be finding a vase for flowers. 
  3. Do not get into a conversation around politics or any other controversial topics. This is mentioned above but it applies to guests too! Leave the tricky subjects for another time (or never!) 
  4. Know when to take your leave. Thanksgiving is a marathon for most hosts to prepare and after you leave they will have to clean up and likely do other chores. Do not overstay your welcome.
  5. Send a handwritten thank-you note within a few days of attending to show your gratitude to your host.

I hope you have found these Thanksgiving etiquette tips helpful. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday weekend full of good manners and good cheer!

With a wink and a smile,
Lisa Lyons

 

 

 


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