This is a re-post from 2011 but I think it's a timely topic as we go into the time of year when guests and visitors will come a-knocking.
Is hospitality a lost art? As I was perusing the Internet for information on hospitality I kept coming across the same sentiment: Hospitality is a lost art.
I see it everyday and I am sure most of you do also. There are many reasons for the decline in hospitality, the most common being the busy lives we all lead. Other reasons include things like "I don't cook", "My house is too small", "My kids are at home", "I am not comfortable having people over" & "My house is dirty". All fabulous reasons, right? Not really, in my opinion.
Our busy lives do get in the way of many things including spending time in our homes with our friends and family. It sure takes effort and thought to stay at home for a day- sometimes it's not even possible - there are carpools and sports and girl scouts and groceries to take care of. I am home alot but even I have to make an effort to spend one day at home without going anywhere. And it's the rare day during the school year.
So how do we welcome friends into our home if we're not there? Well, I don't think you can. You need to be home to have friends come for coffee or have your playgroup over or invite your parents for dinner. If entertaining your friends and family in your home is important to you (it is to me) you need to make time. It doesn't have to be elaborate or back breaking. Invite a friend over for coffee one morning after your kids leave for school - it doesn't need to be an all day event- just a cup (or 2) of coffee. At home watching your college alma mater play football on a Saturday afternoon? Invite your brother & his family over to watch the game with you -provide some popcorn and sodas and you're set. I bet they'll even offer to bring something - take them up on it!
Once you make the time to be home keep the following in mind:
- You don't need a big house. Notice how everyone seems to congregate in the kitchen when there's a party? Notice that it doesn't matter how big the kitchen is? It doesn't matter how big your house is.
- You don't need to hire a cleaning crew to have friends over. Sure, you need to pick up and make sure your guest bath is clean but there are doors on bedrooms for a reason! And try to have a simple routine for each evening that will ensure your home is ready for any spur of the moment invitations. The Fly Lady can help with this.
- You don't need to provide a huge meal. Let's face it - this can get expensive. Have friends for a potluck dinner. Have a dessert get together one Saturday night after dinner. Invite your gym buddies over for coffee.
- You don't need alcohol. This can get even more expensive. Hold your get togethers during the day. If you're having a wine and cheese event have each guest bring their favorite bottle of wine.