Holiday Hospitality

Holiday Hospitality | The Little Homeplace

It's that time of year again.

The snow is falling. A fire is crackling in the wood stove. Christmas cards are coming in the mail. Days are cozy and full of lovely things like baking and time spent with friends and family.

It's also that time of year again.

There are gifts to make, buy, and wrap. A full calendar without an empty day in sight. Parties to attend and family to host. The anticipation and anxiety build up and dim the cheery twinkle lights. Being hospitable and welcoming feels more like a demand instead of a joy.

But, you know something? I'm learning that it doesn't have to be that way.

Several weeks ago, I was thinking about what hospitality should look like during the holiday season. I don't have much experience in this area myself, especially since we travel back to California for Christmas, but I wanted to stock up on some good tips to save for future years.

I reached out to a few of the fellow homemakers in my life and asked them if they had any little bits of wisdom to share. Let me tell you, friend, they sure did.

Their words are beautiful, inspiring, encouraging, and unique. I can hardly wait to share them with you.

I pray that they bless and encourage you as much as they did me.

May you have a very merry and blessed Christmas, and a happy new year!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Holidays? Have Fun! The holidays provide so many opportunities for showing hospitality. You can get carried away, so you need to choose carefully which opportunities best fit into how you can meet others' needs and show them love for God's glory, and then have fun! These people you share your life with are your chance to share God's love here on earth for these few fleeting years - show them you love them any way you can."
-Sherry

"Hospitality during the holidays is the best! So many creative things to do. I love taking the time to plan - to make things festive. When company comes into my home I want them to feel special! That means setting a table that reflects the holiday and preparing those recipes that are new and unique.
Hospitality reflects your heart and prefers other people. Open your heart and your home. You will be truly blessed. What a great opportunity to make new friends or renew long time relationships. Happy hosting!"
-Sheryl

"Do your best to keep seeking Christ first even when it gets crazy, actually especially when it gets crazy!  I have found that the holidays are a time where immense wisdom is required because of the many expectations from within, and without.  One question I always have to ask myself is whether faith permits or prohibits me from doing something? (Romans 14:22-23)  This requires me to evaluate certain activities in light of what God’s Word has to say, my husband’s counsel on the matter, and my conscience.  When I go through this process, the Lord always leads me through to His wisdom, but of course the question inevitably becomes, “Will I follow Christ, or go my own way?”  Nevertheless, He is always faithful to lead me to His answer as I seek Him!
As a side note, sometimes His answer requires saying no to an activity or tradition, and walk thru the internal struggle of a sense of false guilt. “I hate disappointing people!” my heart cries. “Or what will they think of me?” Of course, these feelings reveal my lack of trust in the Lord and self -focus, but as I run to my Savior He calms my unsettled heart.  Other times, faith leads me to say yes to far more than I am capable of handling on my own, and to love extravagantly. This in essence to me is the whole point of Christmas. He gave the most generous gift of all time, and has lavished on us grace upon grace in the Person of His Son. That type of love is to be the pattern of our lives, not just at Christmas but every single day!  Therefore, when all of the opportunities at Christmas arise to love people uniquely, and to celebrate His birth through this love, I seem to always return to this foundational Truth… "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" I John 3:1... Oh, and on a very practical note I have found: Simple is always good, planning ahead is very wise, and involving the whole family is a must (although this is definitely a huge struggle of mine :-) )"
-Christy

"Hospitality. It looks different to everyone! I have learned so much about what it means to show hospitality over the last several years. For me, hospitality doesn't look too different from the holidays to the normal days, but it has certainly changed throughout the years, especially as we add to our family. I love hosting events and planning things, however, my ability to do that in this phase of life, looks much different than it used to. And that is okay, because as a mom of three young children, I have learned that it is of upmost importance to first show hospitality to my husband and kiddos before I can successfully show hospitality to those outside my home. If I am unable to provide a place of comfort for my own family, I will not be able to extend that to those outside my home. It's been a transition, but I have learned some things along the way!
Get your family involved. Talk about why it is important to show God's love. It's not just about preparing your home for a party or making a loaf of bread to hand out at Christmas. We are called to show His love to others in whatever way we can. So, for my 7 year old that may mean she cleans her room so others have a happy place to play, not so that they see how clean it is. Or for me, I'm cleaning that bathroom so that my guests have an odor free place to do their business, not so my mom friends can be so impressed that my toilet sparkles even with a three year old boy running around the house!
Don't compare yourselves to others, it doesn't have to be perfect! Do what you can. When your goal is to share Christ's love, that is what others will see. Not that the table is set perfectly and that the dinner tastes like Martha Stewart! You never know what others need, maybe your fellow homemaker needs to see that she isn't the only one that sometimes burns the brownies!"
-Juliann

"Keep Christmas about Jesus."
-Lesley

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A very special thanks to my mom, mother-in-law, and several of my aunts for being willing to share your wisdom with me and whoever else might find their way to this post. You are such wonderful examples of God-glorifying homemaking and hospitality and I am so very thankful for you.