A survey commissioned by Waitrose reveals what the nation thinks makes the perfect Christmas party host.
The supermarket chain asked OnePoll to quiz 2,000 UK adults in November. The findings also indicate what party-givers are really thinking and what prep has gone into their events.
A total of 60% of respondents said the best hosts should find the right balance between hosting and socialising. Almost half (48.5%) expect their host to spot when a glass needs a top-up, while the biggest bugbear for 43% is food not being ready on time.
Although 34% think a poor host is someone who fails to sit down to relax and enjoy the party, 47% of those polled don’t approve of a host who drinks too much before dinner.
Hosts were also questioned about their role. While 53% claim they cook dishes from scratch, over half (56%) say their biggest fear is no one liking the food.
To ensure that the party goes smoothly, nearly 40% plan the event at least a week ahead and a quarter (24%) prepare a fortnight in advance.
Scots are the most organised, with 29% in Scotland planning a week ahead compared with East Anglians, who are more relaxed in their approach.
It seems tried and tested places are the most likely places to find inspiration for party food. The most popular source is recipe books, with over a third of respondents (34%) scanning pages for ideas. We are also a nation of copycats, with 26% saying
they were likely to steal ideas from other parties they’d been to. Not at the mother-in-law’s though: only 4% of respondents said they found inspiration from this member of the family.
In the ‘2016 Waitrose Food and Drink Report’, it was reported that 44% of us make more effort with our cooking if we think a photo of our food will be posted on social media.
In this latest survey, 31% of hosts are happy for guests to use their phones at the table – as long as they are taking pictures of the event. However, this drops to 18% in the East Midlands.
Waitrose has compiled its top 10 pointers to being the perfect host:
1. Do all the prep before guests arrive
2. Cater to all dietary requirements
3. Greet every guest at the door
4. Ensure everyone is relaxed within five minutes of arriving
5. Find the right balance between hosting and socialising
6. Spot when a guest needs a top-up
7. Provide nibbles
8. Pay attention to the seating plan
9. Steer the conversation to something everyone can enjoy
10. Never tell anyone it’s time to leave
If hosts are unsure of the quantities of food and drink needed for a party, Waitrose has developed a festive party calculator to take out the guesswork. Users select the total number of guests and the retailer will suggest the quantities you’ll need to buy: http://www.waitrose.com/home/christmaswithwaitrose/festive_party.html