8 Bad Hostess Tips | My Tried & True Hacks, Tricks & Gimmicks

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
woman over 50 standing in kitchen wearing brown and black marley lilly monogrammed apron

It seems like there is an expectation in our society that women are supposed to be natural hostesses. Well, I’m here to tell you that I didn’t get the gene! I’m a bad hostess! What I mean by that is that I’m willing, but it’s not fun for me. Oh, I don’t mind the planning, but it’s the actual execution where I struggle! I don’t enjoy the shopping, the food preparing, the tablescaping, or the cleaning.

What I do love is being the conduit for getting together the people I love! So although I’m far from the hostess with the mostest, I keep offering to host. But make no mistake, I’m a bad hostess! Today, I’m sharing my 8 tips for bad hostesses. These are the secret tricks I use to make it look like I know what I’m doing. Well, sorta! 😂

Bad Hostess Tip #1: Get Your Heart Right

Like so many other things in life, being a good hostess is about focusing on others rather than yourself. The chief qualification is just being willing. It’s about serving others and not worrying about how clean your house is, how delicious the food tastes, or how perfect your table looks. It’s about providing a warm, loving environment that will facilitate sweet conversations, encourage laughter, and help build memories. I’ve found that if I pray for a servant’s heart and a desire to provide those things, everything goes better.

Bad Hostess Tip #2: Buy Ready-Made When You Can

ready made fruit platter

Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, Easter lunch, or your niece’s baby shower, buying ready-made ingredients when you can is just smart! Buy fruit or veggies already cut up, then replate them. Buy ready-made decor like wreaths instead of making your own. We’re all good at something, and if your forte isn’t tablescaping or crafting 🙋‍♀️, that’s okay!

woman standing by her front door holding a wreath

Monogrammed Sherpa Pullover | Similar Khaki Jeans | Similar Ugg Wedge Heeled Booties | Similar Wreath

Bad Hostess Tip #3: Use Gimmicky Hacks That Look Impressive

fall doormat and planter

Doormat | Croton | Artificial Pumpkins

When it comes to decor or food presentation, bad hostesses are all for gimmicks that make people ohhh and ahhh! Yep. I’m all about shortcuts and flash! For the fall planter above, I bought a big croton at Lowe’s, along with some small pumpkins (I bought real ones, but artificial ones would work too!) and stuck them in the pot that lives by my back door all year long.

As you can see above, with food, I’m all about a gimmicky trick that is super simple but looks pretty!

Bad Hostess Tip #4: Garnish Everything

sliced baked turkey ham with fruit garnish on a Christmas table

Remember, when you’re a bad hostess, it’s all about the presentation! 😂 Think curly-edged green leaf lettuce, assorted fruit, cranberries, or nuts. My go-to? Herbs like parsley, rosemary, flat-leaf parsley, or cilantro, depending on what I’m serving.

Bad Hostess Tip #5: Take a Break and Go Get Yo’Self Some Tacos

Rusty's taco meal

When you’re deep in the middle of bad hostessing preparations, you might find yourself in a mood to match your bad hostessing skills. 😠😡 What’s sure to cheer you up? Head out to dinner somewhere you love and treat yourself. You deserve it!

Bad Hostess Tip #6: Everybody Loves a Skewer

Here’s the deal: when you’re a bad hostess, fruit is your BFF. It’s pretty, and the colors add that wow factor! My go-to tool is the trusty bamboo skewer! If it’s summer, go for colorful fruit kebobs like the ones above, and if you’re grilling, pile the red and green peppers on some grill-safe stainless steel skewers!

In our family, I always host Thanksgiving. Since the Dallas Cowboys game is on mid-afternoon, my bad hostessing on Thanksgiving involves both Thanksgiving lunch and some kind of deli-style Thanksgiving dinner. (Typically rolls with leftover turkey, and reheated dressing, etc.)

No matter what, I always bring out the fruit kebobs, which everyone seems to love after the heaviness of the main Thanksgiving meal. This year, I’m going to shake things up a little and make a fruit turkey like the one below! Be sure to watch my Instastory or Facebook Story on Thanksgiving to see how mine turns out!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is TurkeyFruitAppetizer-1024x768.jpg

Bad Hostess Tip #7: For Decor, Use What You Have & Embellish With Amazon Finds

The simple-but-pretty 24″ acrylic floral centerpiece below was a fantastic bad hostess find for me! I bring it out every single time I host. All it takes is a trip to the grocery store’s floral department for seasonal flowers, and boom, I’ve got myself a centerpiece!

What’s more, it’s easy to build around if you want to expand the centerpiece width-wise. Think battery-powered LED fairy lights, battery-powered flameless votive candles, a delicate holiday garland, colorful paper shreds, or even just acorns, leaves, or holly berries from your yard!

Bad Hostess Tip #8: Look Cute While Hostessing

I cannot emphasize the importance of this enough! 😂

woman wearing amazon sweater and velvet jeans

Puff Sleeve Sweater | Velvet Jeans (A holiday must-have for me!) | Knee High Boots (change to Black Velvet Slipper-Like Flats when you’re busy in the kitchen with all of your Bad Hostessing!) | Kendra Scott Sparkly Drusy Necklace | Kendra Scott Sparkly Drusy Earrings

If you’re busy bad hostessing, it means you don’t want to think too hard about what you’re wearing! Keep it simple, classic, and comfortable, but not sloppy! And by all means, wear comfortable shoes! I just ordered THESE Black Velvet Slipper-Like Flats to wear when I’m bad hostessing on Christmas Day.

If you’re bad hostessing Thanksgiving like I am, consider something autumnal-but-simple like my outfit below.

3/4 Balloon Sleeve Ruffle Mock Neck Sweater (After all, it can get hot in the kitchen when you’re bad hostessing!) | Brown Corduroy Straight Leg Jeans | Similar Brown Booties | Flat-Soled Sneakers | Calf Hair Leopard Print Belt | Brown Acetate Earrings

Remember, if you’re not naturally a good hostess, it’s okay! Bad hostessing is its own art form! 🤣 Keep a light heart about it all and remember how much you have to be thankful for as you gather your loved ones together.

Also, may I say if you’re not the hostess, you need to be sure you bring a little something to the hostess to thank you for her efforts. Trust me, if she’s a bad hostess and you know it took a lot for her to pull off an event or occasion. I’ve got some great ideas in the Gifts for the Host & Hostess section of the Empty Nest Blessed Holiday Gift Guide! (t’s also a great place to find gifts for your BFF, Bible Study gals, Book Club chicks, etc.) You might also want to check out the Gifts for the Home section for more ideas.) You can check out the entire Holiday Gift Guide by clicking below.

Do you have any other bad hostessing tips to share? I’d love to hear them! Leave me a comment and share, okay?

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Suzy Mighell

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  1. My Mom was one of those hostess with the mostest~ loved doing it all. So in her retirement she was the hostess for everything and loved it! But I also learned tea quickly that while she loved doing it all, she loved a good hack even more!♥️ I’m a fellow bad hostess.♥️ But these hacks are great.

    1. Cindy,

      I’m so glad I’m not alone! I’m thrilled that you found the post helpful and especially that your mom would approve! Thanks so much for leaving a comment and letting me know!


  2. Another awesome post with great gift suggestions! Suzy, you seriously find the cutest things ever, and up till now I thought you were also the ultimate “Suzy Home Maker”! So funny, and I share your culinary challenges with hosting parties. I have a small kitchen and learned to cater my main dishes whenever possible. Same with dips and such that I can purchase from Costco or other specialty grocers. I just transfer it all to pretty or fun serving dishes. I’m all about the presentation so that’s my best hostess talent as well. I always have fun trivia games, board games and karaoke on hand. Agree, it’s all about spreading the love and not just the perfect food spread❤

  3. Finally got to read this post, Suzy! Loved it!! Our Thanksgiving will be quiet, but with a daughter getting married the week before Christmas, I’ll be doing a lot of hosting in December! Lots of house guests, so you know I’ll want to keep things as easy as possible! Thanks for some good tips!!

    1. Betsie,

      You are the sweetest! Thank you! I love it that you’re trying to keep it simple – I’m all about that too – but I just like to make it look flashy! Hahahaha

      Go get em’ girly!


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