If you’re like most of us, you have a very busy life. You’re trying to juggle work, kids, dogs, house, volunteer work, church groups, or a number of other things. Who has time to go all out for a dinner party? The better question is, why do we feel we need to? To add more to the discussion on “restraint”, and how we agree it applies to every part of life, today I want to apply it to entertaining. More specifically, I want to say that we should be entertaining with hospitality.
I think hospitality is a state of mind as much as it is an action. It requires that we open our hearts, not just our homes. That we make our lives accessible to our friends, family, neighbors and strangers alike. I love having people to our house, making them feel comfortable and welcome, enjoying an evening of good company. I want to show that I’m happy they’ve come, but I don’t do it by trying to redecorate my house or overdoing the table settings just for one evening. That’s not what hospitality is about. I make sure my house is (relatively) clean, that my dishwasher is empty. I put flowers on the table, light a candle or two, and get ready for company!
You already know my love of books, and I’ve found two that express this concept perfectly. Sandy Coughlin’s The Reluctant Entertainer and Karen Ehman’s A Life that Says Welcome. They talk about making your house a welcoming home, that focusing on the guests is more important than the menu or the centerpiece. Definitely pick these up at your local bookstore!
I do put some thought into setting the table, because, let’s face it, I care about how things look! But I try to use what I have. In the photos below, the only thing I didn’t already have were the fresh hydrangeas. You’ll see I used birdseed for vase filler, napkins as placemats and kept everything very simple. It’s nice to show company that you want them there, that you value the time you will be spending together, and that you took the time to clean up a little. Sometimes, though, we invite people over without much notice, or someone just shows up at your door. But by focusing on the guests, and using a few things you have around the house, making your home an inviting place can be done in a short time!
What are some ways you show hospitality? What are your go-to items for setting the table? We decided to register only for white dishware for our wedding, foregoing the traditional china. (When would we use china?) With white, I can mix in other patterns (like the odds and ends of china sets from grandparents) and less expensive and seasonal pieces. White goes with everything! And I love that it stands out from our dark table.
Come back tomorrow for Fabulous Find Friday! I’ve got some great things to share 🙂