7 Helpful Tips to Be the Ultimate Guest at Your First Adult Holiday Potluck
Now that we’ve successfully managed to adult our way through autumn (AKA we learned how to actually decorate for fall and elevate last year’s wardrobe with some cheeky autumnal DIYs), we’re ready to take on our next big seasonal event: the annual holiday potluck, Friendsgiving or other. While trying everything from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook is always an option, we’re going to go ahead and say that we might need to start with something a *tad* easier. To help us avoid any potluck guest blunders, we’re sharing seven expert dos and don’ts for adulting newbies. Enjoy!
1. Bring everything (we mean EVERYTHING) you’ll need. Sure, bringing the actual dish is a must… but so is serving ware, a dish towel and extra napkins. “Bring everything you’ll need to serve your dish,” says Danielle Walsh from Bon Appetit. And yes, that includes an extra trivet.
2. Avoid needing to use the host’s oven. While your host knows that some dishes will need to be warmed up, the best way to prevent an oven bottleneck is to skip it altogether. Potluck enthusiast and culinary guru Jamie Oliver suggests bringing slow-cooked joints of meat as an easy option. “Cook a marinated shoulder of lamb on low heat for four to five minutes, wrap it tightly in a double layer of foil and make it airtight with cling film, allowing it to rest while you transport it,” he advises. Done and done.
3. Try something interactive. If you want to ensure your dish is a hit, try making it interactive. “People love wrapping, dipping and eating with their fingers,” says Jamie Oliver. Get creative with your presentation and watch your dish fly off of the buffet table.
4. Stay away from theTriple-S: Stinky, spicy and strange. According to Danielle Walsh from Bon Appetit, simple spices are definitely a winner when it comes to communal potlucks (AKA cool it with the garlic and curry — at least for this gathering).
5. Don’t forget about food safety. We’ve all licked and dipped a cooking spoon when making a dish for one, but it’s probably not the best idea when preparing a dish for your holiday potluck. “Headlines about people getting sick at church potlucks are enough to make anyone nervous,” says Kristin Donnelly at Serious Eats. Try to procure quality ingredients, ensure your counter space is clean and keep your pets (and children) far, far away.
6. No matter how good it looks, don’t take the last bite. Even if you’ve been waiting all year for your coworker’s famous mac ‘n’ cheese, nothing warrants taking a whole plate full. As manners expert Diane Gottsman says, “As good as the turkey may be, avoid that second trip through the line until everyone else has gone through once.”
7. Don’t lunge for a doggy bag. Although most of the time hosts will want you to take your extras home, don’t start packing up until you are asked. It’s common courtesy to let the host keep the leftovers if they’d like, advises Siobhan Adcock at Epicurious.
What’s your biggest potluck pet peeve? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo!
(Featured photo via Getty)
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com