Recently I wrote a post regarding how to be a great guest in someone else’s home. Equally important is being a great host! Hospitality is the gift of welcoming others. For me, this is my wheelhouse. It’s a natural talent developed under the psychology of my personal OCD, identity and ways I express love and affection for others.
In this same way, I have a knack for creating a nice home that’s warm, welcoming, a haven from a hectic world yet I’ve repetitively heard people say, “I just can’t put it together like you do. My mind just doesn’t work that way.” And, I get that. I Feel exactly the same way about so many things that seem so effortless for others. Thus, I became a CID, Certified Interior Decorator.
If you’re young, just starting out on your own or someone whose mind just doesn’t work that way, hopefully you’ll find some helpful tips here. If you are a hospitality master, do join in and share your hints and tricks too!
First you must determine what sort of gathering you are having and whether it falls under hospitality or entertaining. These aren’t necessarily the same thing. Relatives bringing their family for a long weekend – hospitality. Hosting a dinner party for friends – entertaining.
The perfect analogy is this, “Entertaining seeks to impress. Hospitality seeks to bless.” Entertaining is creating an experience for others to enjoy. Hospitality creates warmth and connection. Both can create wonderful memories.
In this post, let’s focus on hospitality. First things first, cleaning up. Make sure your home is well cleaned, put away clutter, dust, vacuum, scrub bathrooms. Pay extra attention to the guest rooms by laundering bedding.
If guests share a common bathroom, I’ll provide guests their own set of fresh towels and wash clothes, folded neatly then tied with a ribbon, leaving them on their beds with a basket of toiletries they may have forgotten. I’ll often tuck a note card that expresses my thankfulness for their visit.
Each room has a wax burner that I’ll fill in advance of their arrival. There’s a basket of magazines in each guest room for late night readers and at times, I’ll place fresh flowers in the rooms. An extra blanket at the foot of the bed is always nice for cold natured guests.
Plan the menu for each meal during your guests visit in advance and stock up with the ingredients needed. Keep the menu fairly simple and prep ahead wherever you can. Let your focus be on spending time with your guest instead of in the kitchen. If guests offer to help, let them be involved in meal preparation turning the chore into another way to spend time together.
Plan time away from the house that would appeal to your guests. Show them around town. We have lovely vineyards and will take visitors to wine tastings. There are fabulous parks in the area for picnics or hiking, and plenty of museums and shopping.
When visitors are coming, I always set out cards and board games. Many memorable evenings have been spent having game night and snacks. It’s especially exciting if your guests have kids. Speaking of kids, plan some way of spending special time with them. Plan a craft to do together or a dessert that they can help prepare.
The entire visit need not be a rush from one activity to the other. There’s no need to exhaust your guests and leave them feeling as though they need a vacation after their vacation! Leave time to relax, talk and really connect. Even a quiet evening together can feel like an event. Have a movie night, renting movies, popping popcorn together and serving movie style candies.
Always rise before your guests and have coffee and juice waiting for them when they wake. I like to set out pastries as well to be enjoyed prior to breakfast. The day of your quests departure, plan a large brunch style breakfast. Send them on their way with warm memories, a delicious meal and full tummies to last their long trek home. If they live very far away, an added courtesy may be to pack them a lunch or provide a basket of snacks for the kids.
Never have we ever: Allowed our guests to simply walk out the door. Treat your guests as warmly at departure as you greeted them upon their arrival. One of our nieces said it best while responding to a FB post on things people do that make you feel loved. Her response was when leaving after a visit, those who stand in the driveway waving as you drive away. Rain or shine, we watch our guests depart, waving, blowing kisses and often with tears, wringing out the very last drops of warmth and welcome that lets them not only know but feel that they are valued, loved and in all the moments of separation between us, they will be missed.