When I was 10 years old, my mom started working outside of the home. I was a latch-key kid and would often start dinner before she and my dad got home. I made meatloaf and I learned how to cook a pot roast. I peeled and mashed potatoes and heated up frozen vegetables. When I was 13, I made most of the Thanksgiving dinner for our extended family, 10 or 12 people, including setting the table and the kids table. So, it’s not a stretch to say, I’ve been cooking and entertaining most of my life, and I know that my guests are happiest when I’m not a whirling dervish in the kitchen.
Are you an entertainer? Are you a reluctant entertainer? If you are the latter, can I encourage you to embrace hospitality? You can start small by inviting a couple people over for coffee. Bake some brownies or open a bag of cookies and you’re golden. Another alternative is to have a neighborhood family over for dinner in the backyard. Just double whatever you were going to make for your own family and don’t say no if they offer to bring something. Consider ways to make it easier to open your doors to people both inside and outside your circle of friends. Some hacks can include using already-prepared foods (think grocery store deli or Trader Joe’s), keeping a house that’s reasonably clean, stocking a party-ready pantry and embracing paper products when necessary.
Hospitality is risky. You will forget things. You might burn the bacon. You might have to strain the lumps from your gravy. You might leave the cranberry salad in the refrigerator, only to notice it languishing when you put the leftovers away. People tend not to notice or worry about what goes wrong. Here’s what people will remember: laughter, good food served with an open heart, the games played after dinner, connection. They will remember that they were invited and welcomed and loved.
Here’s my final word for you. Relax. Let go of perfectionism. It’s okay if your dishes come from the thrift store or your furniture is second hand. It’s okay if your mashed potatoes come from a box and your pie was made by Marie Callender. It’s okay if you forget the cranberry salad. If your house is clean (enough) and your welcome is warm, nothing else really matters.
You have made a space for them in a world where others have not. That’s hospitality. That’s what counts.
If you are reluctant entertainer, can I throw you a rope? I have created The Definitive Guide to Holiday Hospitality. This guide is a 20-page ebook designed with you in mind. It includes a countdown to event success, menu ideas, five no-fail recipes (perfect for any party you may attend or throw) and so much more. I’m offering the guide with an hour long consult with me to help you overcome any barriers to entertaining you may think you have. This hospitality package would be a great gift for the reluctant entertainer in your life! Here’s the link to order your Definitive Guide to Holiday Hospitality today!