by the Daughters of Promise Staff
This article first appeared in the July/August 2016 print edition of Daughters of Promise.
Hospitality does not have to be elaborate to be special. These tips for uncomplicated hospitality can help free you up to relax and offer your guests the most important things: welcome, rest, and friendship.
Keep a stock of helpful items. This could mean a large stash of paper supplies and plasticware; easy snacks (chips and salsa, frozen juice concentrate, popcorn, and box brownies) on hand for evening guests; designated recipes for spontaneous mealtime guests, etc. The big idea is to have your go-to’s established so that you can click into a routine when the unexpected happens…and so that you can be host more often by reducing last-minute stress.
Lay down expectations. Sometimes it takes a while for us to realize that we aren’t all party-throwers. Too often we feel that we can’t host unless all is display-worthy because what will our guests think? That question is mainly about perceived expectations and our own insecurities. Hospitality is about making our lives and homes regularly available to others, and hosting simply means we have the energy to do more of it.
Keep entertainment simple. In the summer, a game of cornhole or croquet is the perfect medium for a relaxing, fun evening. Learn the unique (free!) features of your area such as hiking and picnicking spots, Frisbee golf courses, coffee shops/diners, and farmers markets, and introduce them to your guests. If you don’t have children of your own, be sure to collect a small bin of toys and books for the littles who visit your home.
Pay no mind to Pinterest. You don’t need expensive decor or detailed DIYs in order to have meaningful fellowship with your guests. A simple white tablecloth and a jar or vase filled with blooms and greenery from nature will suffice.
Don’t stress about the minute piles of dirt in the corners of your house. Clean enough to freshen up your home the day your guests arrive or complete a more thorough deep clean several days BEFORE the planned date. Just don’t leave it for the day of!
Just before your guests are due to arrive, light a few candles here and there. Choose scents appropriate to the season for an uplifting welcome as guests arrive. Also, a candle in the bathroom is a quick and easy way to mask unwanted odors.
Offer simple comforts. The guest room should have the essentials: a bedside lamp, accessible outlets for charging devices, an extra blanket, and closet space (with a few empty hangers). Add a plant or vase of flowers and turn back the bed covers to create an inviting look. Be sure your guests know how to operate any tricky bathroom fixtures, and where to find towels and washcloths.