Entertaining Easily: Bloggers Tell Their Tips
Earlier this week, the kids and I attended a play date at a friend's house. There were, altogether, three children and 13 children, and my friend had effortlessly (it appeared) thrown together a fruit tray and pizza for the kids, and a delicious salad for the adults. Everything about it was perfect and laid-back and delightful.
And I'll admit, I sighed with a hint of jealousy at her gracious ease. I told her so. She laughed and assured me that she was actually energized by having lots of people at her house, a concept that is foreign to me. I wish it weren't. If I'm honest, I'll confess that I get entirely too wound up when I entertain, convincing myself that things have to be perfect.
Sandy of A Reluctant Entertainer no longer struggles with this. Her entire blog is dedicated to teaching women how to open up their homes in a way that is not intimidating. She writes of her own "Ten Commandments" of entertaining, including Organize and Plan; Transform With Thrifty Ways; and Be Yourself, Don't Compare:
Remember the beauty of hospitality? It gives without expecting something in return. It puts people before things. It allows our humanness to shine through! It is not only a gift we have, but also a gift we give.
Sandy shared last week how she involves her children in getting their home ready for guests:
So a day or two before my guests arrive, I pull my kids in to help! No friends over and no going to friends’ houses, I tell my kids.
I pull out my trusty notebook and organize the chores. Our kids do better with lists. I think because they’re visual it helps them stay organized, they can get the jobs done on their own timeframe, and they don’t have to hear mom barking orders!
Simple Home Basics has learned that hosting a potluck is a simple (and affordable) way to open up her home to others:
Now I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is a table full of mix and match salads. But I want you to know you can create a great meal with a potluck dinner it just takes good hosting skills on your part. Your friends will remember your party for a very long time and be happy when you call to invite them over the next event. And because you are saving money you can have them over more often.
I read Sandy's words and the penny dropped, this isn't about me and what my cottage looks like, this is about making (and sealing) friendships and most importantly about the gift of hospitality. As I prepared on Saturday and I must admit got myself a bit stressed, I kept repeating it's about hospitality. Once they arrived we had a lovely time, I enjoyed being hospitable, and more, they enjoyed it.
Other women are taking Sandy's lessons to heart as well. Pink Carnation in Bloom writes of how hunkering down for Hurricane Dolly offered the chance to open up her home to friends, and The Organizational Junkie worked with her daughter to package up homemade cookies for a neighbor.
I suppose I've been making the whole hospitality issue more complicated than it is. It's less about what others think of us, and more about what we can do for them. As Sandy says:
Essential to hospitality is opening our hearts and our homes. We each have a home – be it a small home, mid-sized home, or a mansion! And no matter what the size of our table or what food is served, bonding around that table and enjoying a meal makes people feel loved.
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