The first time Ryan and I invited people into our home for dinner I was terrified.
I didn't know a single thing about entertaining, I was just starting to figure out how to manage three meals a day for a hungry farmer. I planned for days. I worried about what our guests would think. Would they like my cooking? When should I offer dessert? Should I do the dishes while they're here, or wait until after they leave?
Maybe you've been there too, friend. Maybe you are there right now. Maybe you've never been there because you were just born a hospitality pro (Tell me your secrets!). Wherever you are, wherever you've been, I want you to know a little something. You're not alone. You're not crazy for checking the oven every 5 seconds to make sure dinner doesn't burn, or for rearranging the throw pillows on the couch *again*. But here's another little something I want you to know:
Hospitality doesn't have to be that hard.
This is what I have learned since my first experience. Hospitality is not about impressing people. It's not about how clean your house is, how cute your decorations are, or how delicious dinner tastes.
It's about the people you have in your home. It's about welcoming them into your family, encouraging them, and loving them.
Now when people come into my home I make it my goal to see them leave it with full tummies and full hearts.
How do I make that happen? Well, I'm no expert, but I thought I would share with you a few things I do that have proven themselves to work wonders time and again. The first one is...
Candles and flowers.
Candles for chilly weather, flowers for warm. During the colder months, I love to have a vanilla spice candle burning on the kitchen counter. It adds a yummy scent to the air and is a cozy, homey sight for anyone that enters the room. Flowers can brighten up any room as well and make the perfect cheery addition to the coffee table or bathroom counter.
Keep cookie dough in the freezer.
When I make a batch of cookies, I always put some of the dough into a Ziploc bag and place it in the freezer. That way, any time we have company, even unexpected company, I can have a dozen or two fresh cookies ready in fifteen minutes or less. I mean c'mon, who doesn't love a warm cookie right out of the oven?!
Play happy music.
Good music makes for a good atmosphere in the home. The goal here is not to blast everyone's eardrums out, but to set the mood by letting it play in the background. By doing this you can even avoid any potentially awkward silences!
Leave messages around the house.
Few things make a person feel welcome and loved like a little note that is meant for them. Leave a few encouraging words on a sticky note on the bathroom mirror, or put a sign (like
) in the entryway so they know you're happy they are here as soon as they walk in your door.
Don't plan too much either. Just go with the flow. Share a meal. Laugh. Relax. Remember, your attitude will determine what kind of environment you create in your home. If you loosen up a little bit and enjoy yourself, everyone else will too.
What are your favorite things to do that help others feel welcome in your home?
The "Home Sweet Home" sign in the photo above is available in my Etsy shop. Click
to check it out!