While it’s natural to want your home to be as welcoming and comfortable as possible, you’ll make your guests anxious if you spend all your time fussing over every little detail.
If you haven’t heard Rev. Jack King’s perspective on Scruffy Hospitality, it’s worth considering:
Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy hospitality means you hunger more for good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, not what you don’t have. Scruffy hospitality means you’re more interested in quality conversation than the impression your home or lawn makes. If we only share meals with friends when we’re excellent, we aren’t truly sharing life together.
Don’t allow a to-do list disqualify you from an evening with people you’re called to love in friendship. Scheduling is hard enough in our world. If it’s eating with kind, welcoming people in a less than perfect house versus eating alone, what do you think someone would choose? We tell our guests ‘come as you are,’ perhaps we should tell ourselves ‘host as you are.’
Here are some ways to be a gracious, relaxed host this holiday season.
Stock up on some easy entertaining supplies for unplanned or last-minute guests. Tidy up your guest room, keep the bathroom clean and stocked, and fill your pantry with easy appetizers like chips and salsa, crackers and summer sausage, hot cocoa and ciders. There are also some yummy snacks and treats that can be kept in your freezer and heated up as needed for drop-in guests. During the holidays, I also keep a frozen lasagna on hand — you never know when you’ll need an easy dinner to feed a houseful!
Keep It Simple
Instead of hosting a big, expensive party, try inviting friends over for cider and cookies. People get partied out pretty quickly over the holidays, and a laid-back evening without feeling the need to impress can be a welcome respite during the busy Christmas season.
If you’re having overnight guests during the holidays, pre-plan breakfasts, lunches and dinners and shop in advance so you’ll have all your groceries on hand. This is a great list to keep in your holiday planner for reference next year.
When friends and family offer to bring a dish to your party or holiday meal, say yes. To simplify even more, plan the meal as a potluck and invite guests to share a favorite food. This works especially well when the host provides the main dish and drinks, and guests bring appetizers, side dishes and desserts.
A few years ago, I was a control freak when it came to my menus, and I didn’t want anyone to bring something that might “conflict” with the plan (terrible, I know!) Now, I’m all about simplicity, so I am thrilled when someone offers up a dish. Saves me some work, and I get to enjoy someone else’s cooking!
Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Don’t set expectations too high. If you’re hosting a party, remember it’s just a party. It’s supposed to be fun, not perfect. You won’t be the worst host in history, but you’re not Martha Stewart either. Stop stressing, embrace that scruffy hospitality, and most of all – have fun.
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