There are very few things that feed my heart and soul in the way the hosting a gathering in my home does. It is an aspect of who I am and it is even part of my self-care. While it is true there are lots of things I like to do alone that renew me, fellowship with my friends and family nourishes me in a different way. These moments can lift you up and the memories you build are precious and even healing. Yet so often, we let hospitality become a burden and an obligation, rather than a gift. It’s so easy to do during the Holiday season. There are a few things I like to keep in mind this time of year that help me to really enjoy life’s moments.
First of all, don’t overdo!!! I love having people into my own space where I can love on them through food and drink but I am not Martha Stewart!!! In my early years, I used to stress over every detail before someone walked through my front door. After the birth of my twins, I realized it wasn’t even humanly possible for me to host in that way any longer. I learned pretty quickly that none of my guests cared whether they were getting a fresh coffee cake out of the oven for breakfast or popping their own toast in the toaster. They were there to see me and if I was busy serving the entire visit, I would miss out on what was the most important…memories!
Secondly, Keep it simple! Now, to be honest, I am still working on this but I truly have gotten better at it through the years. Everything I do to prepare for guests is to make them feel like they can relax and have a timeout…to sink in and enjoy the evening. But they will not be able to relax if I can’t! So, if I keep the food simple, usually something we would be eating anyway, I am able to enjoy the visit so much more. During the Holidays I might make something like my artichoke dip or a charcuterie spread but I try not to do a gourmet dish that I am unfamiliar with.
Thirdly, no one cares whether your house was published in Better Homes and Gardens. Because I know the goal is to make memories and enjoy good company, I have to remind myself to open the doors to others no matter how clean my house is. Hospitality should be an expression of love and care so if you are exhausted by the time your guests arrive, I am not sure you are going to be able to truly give. The dishes can wait and your house doesn’t need to be spotless. I firmly believe that hospitality is healing, both to the host and to the guest. This particular point has been the most difficult for me to accomplish. I love a tidy home but I am definitely learning to release those things that aren’t important for the people who are.
I pray for you during this season that you will be able to invite others to break bread with you, share a laugh and feel loved in your home during this Holiday season!
Peace and love to all who enter!!!