Lets start by choosing hospitality over a clean home or the perfectly curated meal. Those things are the icing on the cake, but the substance of hospitality is inviting others in and caring from them while they are with you. There is an element of vulnerability that can be linked to embracing hospitality, and the good news is, the more often we practice hospitality, that vulnerability muscle will have a chance to develop.
When we invite people into our home, especially if we’re just starting out, we need to keep things as simple as possible. My garage and mudroom are my catch all and where I stack things when guests come over. Straightening up with baskets and having a place to stack all the stuff is a great way to clean up for guests. Especially if you have little ones where there’s constant clutter, make it easy by straightening up the majority of the stuff 5 to 10 minutes before guests arrive.
Always remember that your guest care more about connecting with you than they do about a perfectly clean home. It just needs to be straightened enough for you to have peace of mind and a place to sit for your meal or for good conversation.
Keep your food simple, unless you’re a gourmet cook or you’ve been doing this for awhile, have go to meals for when guests come. Ordering pizza is one of the easiest ways to welcome guess into your home. You could add a tossed salad or a veggie tray, or just keep it simple with just pizza.
During the spring and summer and early fall, barbecues are perfect to welcome guess. You can even ask those that are coming to bring their own meat, and just add a couple sides and some chips and you are good to go.
Through the years I have served many meals to our guests. When we’re having friends or family over for dinner, I usually serve a go to meal that I’ve been making for a while. We’ve done tacos, Hawaiian haystacks, a favorite soup and dinner rolls, chili and cornbread, a roast with veggies and mashed potatoes, the possibilities are endless, but choose a meal that you feel confident preparing!
Steve has perfected the Ruben, and we love making Reuben sandwich. We went through a couple years where that was all we were making when we had company over. The way he makes his Rubens does have a lot of parts and pieces to it, so there were times we chose not to make them to make the evening easier, but when we had a little extra time it was so fun to make these special sandwiches for our guests. For those that didn’t like a Reuben sandwich, they had the option to have grilled cheese.
Above all, remember that hosting is about connection, if the food or the tidiness of your home is getting in the way of inviting others in, simplify. Figure out the basics, let go of perfection. If dinner feels like too much, invite others over for dessert. How easy is it to do a simple ice cream sundae bar, with a couple flavors of ice cream and a few toppings. Or you could each bring your favorite dessert and visit together while you’re eating your favorite treats. Just invite them in, simplify the process as much as possible, make it happen, make it a priority. I promise, hospitality is worth it.