Say it with flowers
A bouquet is a tried and tested gift. Only problem is, they're presented just when you are trying to make sure everyone is introduced and has a drink. Tricky, while also juggling a bunch of blooms. Solution? Brief your spouse/a friend/spare child in advance so they can whisk them off and put them in water. As a guest, consider giving an original, edible gift instead. A jar of special, local honey or a box of beautiful artisan biscuits are nice alternatives.
Serving with a smile
The key to a relaxed supper party is dishes that are largely prepared in advance. If the meal lends itself, lay side dishes along the table and a gorgeous salad or a bread board in the centre. There’s something very generous and welcoming about presenting a shared bowl to the table. It fosters a mood of caring, sharing, chatting and passing things along.
Brexit. Schools. Bike lanes. Dogs. If you’ve got an argumentative type, any subject is like a red rag to a bull. So have a diversionary tactic at the ready. Before people arrive, have a mini brainstorm: Things We Can Talk About. New films, books, local events, planned holidays. Then, if things get a bit heated, you can say something like, ‘Sorry to go a bit off-topic, but I was wondering what people thought of…’