Welcome to 31 Days of Real, Simple Hospitality!
Scroll on down to read Day 1. I’ll be adding links to the other days once they’re up!
Hospitality can bring to mind a myriad of images–fancy dinner parties, themed birthday celebrations, frantic cleaning, scouring Pinterest for decor ideas, stress, fun, and lots of clean-up.
But I’m talking about real, simple hospitality. The kind that’s natural, generous, and without much fuss.
If Webster’s online defines hospitality as “the generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests,” I’m going to go ahead and say that inviting your neighbor over for coffee, whatever snacks you have on hand, and friendly conversation is hospitality.
Real, simple hospitality is natural— it’s just looking around to see who you might want to get to know better, reach out to, or bless with a meal. It could be your new neighbors, the couple at church you’ve wanted to chat up, or local college students who might enjoy a home-cooked meal.
It’s inviting others to join you in doing something you were going to do anyway—watch a football game, carve pumpkins, or make Christmas cookies. It could be hosting a huge party for baby’s first birthday, but it doesn’t have to be.
Some of the best examples of hospitality I’ve experienced have taken place in mundane, everyday life.
It’s a friend giving you the key to her house and telling you to make yourself at home. It’s having “refrigerator rights” at your neighbor’s place. It’s being invited over for pizza right after you moved in.
Generosity is at the heart of hospitality. You’re sharing your home, food, and life with others. You’re giving them your time, energy, and attention. The focus is on them—serving them and making them feel cared for.
The meal and the atmosphere of your home are aspects of hospitality, but I’m going to call them icing on the cake. The real deal is showing a genuine interest in others’ lives and sharing yours openly with them. When this is done in the context of your home, extraordinary things can happen.
Again, we’re talking simple here. It doesn’t have to be a full-on meal. Dessert and coffee will do just fine. Heck, drinks alone will suffice.
I love a welcoming, cozy atmosphere but this can be achieved by simple means—namely, candles, music, and kindness. No scouring of Pinterest for décor ideas needed. Fun and pretty, perhaps, but not necessary.
For me, half the stress of hospitality is related to getting my house in decent enough shape for guests. I’ve found that considerably lowering my standards helps with this.
If you come over for dinner, you can reasonably expect a relatively tidy main living space, offset by a chronically dirty stove-top and just enough Megablocks to give the kitchen floor some lovely pops of color.
The Next 30 Days
Over the next 30 days, I’ll be sharing more of my heart for this type of hospitality, how it can help you love your home, overcoming our hang-ups, and practical issues like how to host anything whilst in the throws of toddler-hood.
And I want to hear from you, dear reader! Your thoughts, fears, and joyful stories related to hospitality—all are welcome here.