Before I even get started, I promise not to mention table settings or flower arrangements. I’m not Martha Stewart, for cryin’ out loud.
Hospitality isn’t about impressing people, or elaborate garden parties – unless that’s your cup of tea, and if so more power to you. Hospitality is about generosity. It’s about being prepared at a moment’s notice to extend your home and your family to a friend. And like I’m discovering about so many other things, it’s all about attitude.
I’ve heard people say that entertaining “isn’t worth the effort.” And to that I say, Who are these people hanging out with? Who could be miserable enough company that inviting them over so you can spend time with them isn’t worth the effort? But I suspect the issue has little to do with unsatisfactory friends and more to do with a distorted view of hospitality. And it’s sad, because opening your home can be so rewarding.
Yesterday is a perfect example. I had a ladies night for some friends and wanted to keep it fresh, simple, and fun. I made an upbeat playlist on my MP3 player, served finger food and had everyone contribute, brought out the Wii and the board games, and ordered masks, decorations, and glue to give it some flair. We had a blast, there was minimal cleanup, and no stress.
If you’re struggling with party details, here are some entertaining ideas guaranteed to make hosting easier:
- Try skipping the plated dinner. I personally love inviting a couple over for a nice dinner, but especially if there are planned activities you want to give precedence to or a large number of people, it can just get in the way. Try setting up an all-night finger food buffet and ask all your guests to contribute something. I like anything from the frozen section of Trader Joe’s or homemade meat, cheese, and cracker platters. Using paper plates and cups also cuts cleanup. Providing the dough and toppings for do-it-yourself pizzas is a crowd-pleaser too.
- Focus on the atmosphere. Usually the fun happens on its own as along as a conducive atmosphere is provided. Making an appropriate playlist, having food and beverage easily accessible, and providing activities should be enough. Don’t worry too much about ambiance, food, name cards, and seating arrangements. It’s really not that important.
- Add some flair. Do something to make the party memorable, for you and your guests! Having everyone design their own masks was a great icebreaker and created fun photo opportunities. Don’t worry if your ideas feel silly or immature; what matters is that everyone can do it, it’s fun, and it’s unique! A walk through your local party/costume shop might provide some inspiration.
Whatever is holding us back from entertaining or reaching out for better relationships, we shouldn’t let it! Be powerful! Be amazing! Throw a party! 😀