Organizing As A Guest on Passover or Easter


Everyone is getting ready to host Easter or Passover – but what if you are a guest? What should you do to be a good and welcome guest?

If you go to the same place every year, ask yourself what you can do to differently this year; how can you make it special, make it easier on your host or make it kid friendly (assuming kids will be there).

Let’s start with make it special:

Can you bring your hostess a special gift? Is there something you see about the season you think your hostess would like and use like? How about a Passover plate or Bunny cake plate? Would a ceramic basket, ceramic or decorative eggs be something your hostess would like? If not perhaps special soaps or a personal item like a seasonal pin or earrings?
Ask yourself what interests your host/hostess may have and use that as a starting point. If they garden, spring is a great time to give them lilies (Easter Lilies) to replant in their garden. If they excersize and are into it, you can give them work out socks, pedometer, and a head band in a wee basket. And nothing is wrong with the gift of fresh fragrant cut flowers for the house.

Make it easier on your host:

What can you do to make the day easier on your host so they can enjoy the day too? You can bring Wine, Specialty coffee and creams,Kid friendly drinks (ginger-ale and cranberry juice cocktail from ocean spray looks like wine, but isn’t and tastes great!), the centerpiece, or side dishes. But please don’t just bring a side dish; find out what the hostess prefers that you bring. Having 10 people show up with green bean casserole is not fun! Offer to bring additional serving utinsels that she may need (serving spoons/dishes/glasses/napkins etc.) Or ask if she would like you to bring paper or plastic items if pre and post dinner is more informal.

Dessert is always a fun contribution. Find out what the host wants you to bring! She may have enough chocolate bunnies to start a farm! Maybe a marble cake; jell-o mold; a fruit cobbler, fresh fruit and whipped cream; cheese cake; ice cream cake; homemade cake; brownies, ice cream and choc syrup, etc. Yummy! Be creative. How about an Easter Basket with lots of candy if your host has no kids in the home and doesn’t usually do a basket. It can really pick them up. Or how about homemade bread or cake?

Your contribution doesn’t have to be just food based to make the host’s life easier. Offer to pick up someone who may have trouble getting around (an elderly aunt?) Offer to pick someone up from the airport/drop them off so your host doesn’t have to! Offer to drive someone to services so they can go to an earlier service and go home to get the dinner ready. Throw a couple of folding chairs in the car in case they find out they need additional seating.

Make it kid friendly:

Offer to bring games for kids to play, or offer to design games for kids to play. Do an Easter Egg Hunt without the smell!
Use plastic colorful eggs; put candy or notes/hints as to find better items like a candy bunny or egg. Create an Out of Egypt treasure hunt – hide hints & scripture that help the kids learn about the story of Passover and the Exodus and is fun as well.

Bring standard kid games for them to play with and offer to bring a table for them to play on if you bring a board or card game; bring puzzles they can work on and bring small fry chairs, coloring books, crayons, markers. Ask the kids before the event to write out what the day means to them and read the messages at the dinner. Offer to bring a basket with games, coloring books, cards, DS games, maybe a baby doll or stuffed bunny for littler kids, etc.

Other rules to remember:

Be sure to be on time! If you’ve ever hosted anything you know how annoying it is when guest show up late, and the dinner was ready a half an hour ago – now it’s dry and you look like a bad cook! Be considerate. If your kids will be napping at the time set for dinner, let your host know (they can either change the time or save you the food!)
If you invite someone who is chronically late, it is okay to tell them dinner will be served promptly at 6:00 pm and you won’t be waiting for anyone as there are so many other guests to consider. Do this once or twice and they won’t be late again! They won’t like that the food they get is cold or that it’s all gone, or that the universe did not revolve around them!

Dress appropriately – your kids too! If you bring your little ones and the dinner is formal; inquire if you may have them change right after the meal so as not to destroy their good clothing while playing. Kids will play – that’s what they do – just check with your hostess to see if the dress is informal/casual or church dress up. Let your kids know they must behave no matter what they wear.

Help with clean up/set up! Sounds simple, but you would be amazed at how many people go to someone else’s house and let them wait on them! They don’t even offer to help clear the table, or anything! I always automatically help clear the table and offer to help set it or put food out or wrap it up or make coffee or set up the desserts – even if your host says no thanks, you’ve asked and let them know you are there to help if they change their minds! This includes the men in your family too – they can carry their dishes to the sink at the least or offer to take out the trash.

Be aware of your kids! If your kids start to exhibit the signs that they are over stimulated and in need of a nap; make sure you know where they can lay down and not be in the way. You may want to clear this with the hostess before you come so she may know you may need the space and she can set it up for you. Be sure to set the ground rules for the kids; no whining, no fighting, no yelling or running inside; no running around in good clothes; sharing, indoor voices and best manners are a must. If you need to change a baby or nurse a baby, make sure your hostess is aware of your need so she can make sure you have a place (private if you prefer) to take care of your baby.

No pets! I love my two dogs and we do take them to family events – when appropriate – like an outside BBQ! Not a church-dressed dinner! Some people are nervous around some pets, so it’s best just to give them a special treat and leave them at home! If your host has a pet that your kids are afraid of, inquire as to where spot will be during the event so you can reassure your kids it will be okay.

Don’t overstay your welcome! Most hosts will say – no, stick around! But honestly, they have work to do – clearing up after a party. No matter how much you get done right after the meal, there is always something more to do. You don’t just turn off the lights and go to bed when your last guest leaves! So give your hosts time to do those little adjustments to get their home back in complete order without being too exhausted.

Most of all try to relax and enjoy the day – spring is in the air, flowers are blooming and the gray skies of winter are finally going away – enjoy it!