With Thanksgiving coming soon here for those in the U.S., I thought I would chat a bit about one of my most favorite topics—making hospitality easy. When I mention the word hospitality, how do you respond? Do you get excited? Or perhaps you begin to feel a bit anxious and nervous? My heart is to calm your nerves if you are the latter. The art of hospitality, the bringing together of friends in our home, is truly the heart of the gospel being played out in a real tangible way. I read this today, and it resonated with me deeply…
“Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by divining lines.” —Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual LifePut simply, hospitality is the act of hosting people in your home, making time and space to create connection. Often it involves serving them a meal. The centerpiece of how Jesus shared the gospel was often around a table. It fills a human need for nourishment, and we can add so much to that experience by using our unique gifts. If you feel you aren’t good at hospitality, I encourage you to think again. Let’s chat about a few really simple and practical ways to create a space that is inviting, yet not overwhelming, to those we invite in our home. I know your desire is to make others feel welcome in your home, that is all. Nothing more is needed.
Create a welcoming spaceWhat brings you joy? What speaks to your heart? Your home should be an appendage of your heart. When friends walk in, they should be able to see you in all the spaces. This does not mean you need everything to be perfectly arranged and have expensive pieces decking your home. What it does mean is that your personality is reflected. Having simple decor that does not clutter but is special to you is really a key piece. As I began furnishing my home last year (the one we’ve recently sold), I was very aware of choosing special things that were a part of me and really reflected who I was. A special painting that my good friend painted for me as a centerpiece. I chose small, decor pieces because they fit a need, not just create clutter. It doesn’t have to be a perfect space but should reflect who you are.
Simple is bestOne of my biggest tips for those stepping out into hospitality is to have two or three simple and really good recipes or menus that you can use when you invite others over. This is key to having things run smoothly and also for you to be less stressed. I have found a good chili recipe with a wonderful gluten-free cornbread recipe to be one of our staple menus we pull out when we have others over. I also can make some roasted potatoes, roasted vegetables, and a simple protein like grilled salmon or chicken. There are several of my favorite hospitality recipes in my book, Got Dinner recipe book, where you will find 45 recipes that will make entertaining easy.
DiffuseThis tip is by far my favorite!!! Ever since I began using essential oils in my home, which is now nearly eight years ago, as soon as someone walks into my home they comment on how good it smells. I am so grateful! The calming ability of diffusing essential oils eases stress, but also just gives a feel-good feeling when you are smelling really yummy smells without any toxic residue. If you have a diffuser, be sure to check out these wonderful fall diffuser blends I shared; they will be perfect for your Thanksgiving gathering. We may be in a trailer now, but I have two diffusers, and we will be spending the day with my son and I will have diffusers going there as well. If you do not have oils yet, be sure to connect with me and I would be honored to help you get started.
Good conversationEven as an introvert at heart, I can and do enjoy conversations with others. It’s true. The art of conversation is actually a skill you develop. I have spent time working on how to have engaging conversations with others over the past five years. People truly enjoy talking about themselves, so why not make sure you have some questions in your pocket to engage that conversation. I have enjoyed small gatherings of friends and acquaintances because I can ask questions about them and their life experiences. This truly helps me understand them, but also helps me feel connected. It’s such a joy for me now. I was once a person who struggled with conversations. Now I just keep asking questions about their family, their hobbies, their favorite things to do, and more. Put these tips in your back pocket and you’ll be well equipped to foster a home filled with key pieces, making hospitality easy even at a moment’s notice.
Further reading for making hospitality easyI have a few books that I have enjoyed on the topic of hospitality. If you’re interested in gaining more tips and inspiration, give these resources a look.
- The Lost Art of Hospitality: Making People Feel Welcome in Your Home by Alisha Anderson
- The Gospel Comes With a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World by Rosaria Butterfield
- Extraordinary Hospitality for Ordinary Christians: A Radical Approach to Preparing Your Heart & Home for Gospel-Centered Community by Victoria Duerstock