Hosting Hell: 10 Things That Will Go Wrong - And How to Prevent Them

Jane Matthews

The 2016 holiday season is fast approaching. If your Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanza, Chanukah, or Festivus plans include being the host with the most, remember Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong, will. Embracing that philosophy now and preparing for hosting worse case scenarios can help minimize celebratory chaos, and keep your reputation intact. If you want to avoid entering the hosting hell dimension, here are 10 potential entertaining glitches, and how to avoid them:

Hosting nightmares include plumbing problems
  1. Water Works: A holiday celebration is no time for a household disaster, especially when it is anything water related. While a broken garbage disposal or clogged sing would make cleaning up a challenging nightmare, a clogged toilet or overflowing septic tank borders on disgusting. A better choice is to schedule a preventative inspection with a local plumber. Additionally, program a 24-hour plumber on speed-dial and ensure you have a plunger and rubber gloves on site, just in case.
  2. Flu Season: Getting your annual flu vaccine is "…the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu," according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu season starts in October, and a needle jab today can help ensure you are healthy for the holidays.
  3. The White Glove Test: If you have every wondered if it is better to clean house before or after your party consider that while you may be fine living among dust bunnies, your visitors may not find that environment hospitable. Ensuring your home and carpets are cleaned is inviting, a professional cleaning service can help. Additionally, consider hiring a professional party cleaning service; splurging on kitchen help will allow you to focus on your guests.
  4. Finicky Eaters: A survey conducted by The National Turkey Federation indicates that 88 percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving. If you plan a meaty spectacular, Murphy's Law suggests you will end up hosting the 12 percent that doesn't eat meat. Prepare for that eventuality by making a separate vegetarian dish or leaving animal products out of your side dishes. Skip that ham in your green bean casserole. Sub veggie stock for chicken. Use Marshmallow Fluff to top your sweet potatoes. Bake with butter, not lard. Both your vegetarian guests and your arteries will appreciate those tweaks.
  5. Kitchen Cuts: Dull knives can cause bloody messes. That's because they require more force to cut efficiently, and that increased pressure makes slicing and dicing your hands a real risk. Either have a professional knife sharpener work their magic or stop by your local restaurant, cooking or dining supplier and pick up a device sharpener that matches your needs.
  6. "I Don't Feel Well" and "Oops": Home is where the heart is and is also where most accidents happen. It's better to accept that and get your emergency supplies in order, stat. Visit your local drug store and stock up on supplies including bandages, over-the-counter pain relief, antacids, eye drops, first-aid creams, and antiseptic.
  7. Lawsuits: This is a downer but the reality is if a guest sustains an injury in your home, they may sue the homeowner to cover medical expenses and damage. Even with the best-laid plans, pet bites, slip-and-falls, and intoxicated drivers are common liability claims that homeowners and renters face. Call an insurance agent and organize your coverage before opening your doors.
  8. Kitchen Fires: Master chef or not, cooking poses risks; the National Fire Prevention Association notes that U.S. fire departments reported that cooking caused 162,400 home structure fires from 2009 to 2013. Working fire extinguishers will allow you to squash flames, and keep the party rolling.
  9. Pet Sounds and Smells: While Fluffy or Bubbles may be your family members others only like animals if they are prepared medium-rare. Why not take your pet for a professional grooming so they will smell fresh, have less dander, and shorter nails. You may want to move your pet into a separate gated area for the evening, just in case.
  10. The After Party: When it comes to food and drink, overindulging is a holiday tradition. Regarding the latter, plan on helping your visitors get home. Valet services, ridesharing, public transportation, designated drivers, and local cab services are all viable options. It is best to investigate holiday wait times and timetables before popping any corks.
Hosting a great and safe event requires special attention to detail. Even if Mr. Murphy and his darn law don't make an appearance this holiday season, over-preparation can reduce your stress level and let you enjoy all the fun.

Jane D. Matthews is a writer-for-hire living in the heart of Hollywood. She has created content for dozens of websites, worked as a ghostwriter, and contributed her words to a published NYC shopping guide. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, camping, vegetarian cooking, decorating, advising, and laughing until it hurts.