Waitrose survey reveals we want it all when it comes to Christmas parties

With the festive party scene in full swing, a survey has revealed that guests expect only the best from their hosts. From keeping glasses topped up to having time to keep conversation flowing, a poll commissioned by Waitrose shows what the nation thinks makes the perfect host. The findings also indicate what party-givers are really thinking and what prep has gone into their event

Anyone who has hosted a soiree knows the stress of dashing between the kitchen yet also keeping your guests happy.   But 60% of respondents said that 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 but also 43%’s biggest bug bear was the food not being ready on time. And whilst 34% thought that a poor host is someone who fails to sit down to relax and enjoy the party, 47% of those polled disapproved of a host who drinks too much before dinner.

Hosts were also polled about what it’s like being the hostess with the mostest. 53% said they cooked dishes from scratch but over half (56%) of those questioned said their biggest fear was no one liking the food.   To ensure that it all goes smoothly on the day, nearly 40% plan their event at least a week ahead and a quarter (24%) a fortnight in advance. Scots are the most organised with 29% in Scotland planning a week ahead compared to East Anglia who were more relaxed in their planning.

It seems tried and tested places were the most likely places to find party inspiration.  The most popular source was trusty recipe books with over a third of respondents (34%) scanning their pages for ideas.  We are also a nation of copy cats with 26% saying that they were likely to steal ideas from other parties they’d been to.  Not at the mother in laws 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 dropped to 18% in the East Midlands.

With so much to consider when hosting this Christmas, Waitrose has compiled its top ten pointers to becoming 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. Have everyone relaxed within 5 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