I Learned How to Hostess from my Residential College

Every year, when I return home for winter break, I host a holiday party for my high school friends. This party has evolved over the years—it started as a secret Santa gift exchange, but then once we left for college, coordinating that became too difficult; now we do a white elephant. This year, we were all twenty-one for the first time and because I took a gap year, most of my high school friends were marking their last college winter break. It felt appropriate to celebrate this adult milestone in a new, classy way. The only problem was, I wasn’t sure how to be classy. In the past, the party had involved a lot of bright frosting and microwaved pigs in a blanket. In 2019, it was time to be sophisticated, elegant. Luckily, I had guidance in the form of the Silliman Holiday dinner—an event which is nothing if not sophisticated and elegant. 

The Silliman charcuterie display. Hello, Gorgeous!

The Silliman Holiday dinner is always a culinary masterpiece. Chefs Chris and Stu pull out all the stops (Chef Stu while wearing his menorah hat): roasted turkey with gravy, beautiful pink salmon, mushroom risotto for the vegans. I, however, am just one woman, and do not have anywhere near the prowess of Chef Chris or Chef Stu. Good thing that the Silliman dining team also serves an impressive array of charcuterie-type delicacies: salamis, sharp cheddar, more cracker varieties than you could shake a stick at. Not wanting to cook, I took a page out of Silliman’s book and almost bought Trader Joe’s out of cheeses and chutneys. More than that, I declared the theme of the evening to BE “charcuterie board.” 

My charcuterie display. Hello, slightly-less-but-still-somewhat Gorgeous!

But, as any host knows, it’s not all about the food. The dress code is also important. You want your guests to be comfortable, but to still feel that there is something “special” about the night. When my friends asked me what they should wear to the party, I repeated the dress code for the Silliman Holiday Dinner: “Festive!” “Festive” can mean anything from glittery red ball gown to deliberately-ugly Christmas sweater. It is the perfect flexible dress code. 

All in all, my party was a success (if I do so say so myself), and I couldn’t have done it without the glamorous guidance of the Silliman Holiday Dinner and the spectacular dining team. I love my college, I love my hometown, and I love all my friends—near and far! And a Happy New Year!