For years, preparing to host a playdate, dinner on the weekend or overnight guests used to look like this:
Now it looks like this:
Maybe things aren't to a "Maria dancing on the hilltops of Austria" level of peace around our house as we prepare for guests but we have come a long way. It is still a work in progress but we are committed to not waiting until things are perfect to invite people into our home.
If you google or search on Pinterest how to host any gathering, you will find all sorts of ideas that go above and beyond which can really make people feel welcome. However, I have found that when you are going from never hosting (or not hosting very naturally) to wanting to host in a way that makes you feel less frazzled, focusing on several small, practical steps make preparing to host less stressful.
In general, I have found it helps to keep things simple but thoughtful. I always look a week ahead and if we are hosting within the week, I consider the type of gathering on the schedule. I determine the food and drink needed and the cleaning and set-up logistics. It never fails, if I haven't thought ahead of time about hosting, an hour before guest come over, I am the crazy lady in the first video, running around yelling, "there cannot be any sign of people living here. I don't care if we have to throw everything out!" When I have the practical details figured out ahead of time, I am able to be more present to our guests when they arrive instead of running around frantically.
When hosting a dinner, I try to have as much done before guests arrive. I have several go-to meals when hosting. Click here for one of our favorite meals. It is helpful if the main course is warming in a crockpot or oven, ready to be served and all sides are put together ahead of time. We make the same thing any time we host and only switch it up if we hosted the guest(s) recently.
When hosting overnight, I have found it is helpful to keep all guest bedding, pillows, towels, and air mattresses (if applicable) in the same space. It simplifies set-up when preparing for overnight guests. A simple breakfast of bagels and cream cheese with coffee and fruit or another meal that is easy for guests to serve themselves simplifies the next morning.
Overall, keep it simple. It won't be perfect but let's aim to welcome guests into our homes to share life with one another instead of being concerned with exuding a perfection we don't possess.
What are your hospitality hacks? Comment below. I’d love to continue to learn and grow in hospitality!
Thanks for reading. I am so glad you are here!