By Victoria Osborn, Contributing Writer
Now that we are in full summer mode, the season of barbecues, cookouts and campfires are in full swing. Perhaps you have been invited into other’s homes and have enjoyed the hospitality of good friends, fellowship and food. Or maybe you are wanting to open up your own home but are scared to do so?
Hospitality is a way we welcome and serve one another. It’s an invitation into your home, a way to build deeper friendships and it’s one way we can model the love of Christ. Not surprisingly though, when you say the word hospitality you often get a wide range of reactions from enthusiasm to downright terror.
Some love to open their homes to others while to some it can seem downright overwhelming. I mean how can you possibly add one more thing to your list of responsibilities, right?
In truth hospitality doesn’t have to be overwhelming nor does it have to add anymore to your ever growing to-do list. In fact here are some easy do’s and don’t of hospitality to keep in mind.
Don’t wait until your house is perfectly clean
If you have young children, older children, pets, a husband… basically any people living in your home, except the fact that your house will probably never be perfectly clean. And you know what? That’s OK.
You don’t have to have a white gloved approved clean home to open your doors and welcome friends and family in. Follow a simple daily routine to keep your home picked up help keep your home in order.
Instead of frantically rushing through your home before guests arrive simply pick up any items that don’t belong, set out fresh hand towels, light a fresh candle and welcome your friends and family. I promise you, they aren’t inspecting your home for cleanliness, they are there to fellowship with you!
Do Keep It Casual
Let go of the idea that in order to have anyone over to you home, you have to have a fancy formal dinner with the dining room table set to the nines. While those can be fun to host, it certainly doesn’t need to be the tone for all your get-togethers.
Open your doors to the back deck, light some candles, turn on some fun music and set out some inexpensive (or even give yourself permission to do disposable) dishes. If the weather is nice, eat outdoors on your back deck or patio. Include the kids so couples don’t have to worry about childcare. Play some games and just relax and enjoy the company.
Don’t Wait for a Special Holiday
There is a myth that you can only have people over on a holiday but that is untrue. You can open your home whenever you want.
Personally I think it takes a little bit of the pressure off when you host a dinner or barbecue on a day that isn’t a holiday. People might be more inclined to accept your invitation on a day where they don’t already have family plans.
Do Keep It Simple
If scanning Pinterest for tablescapes and decor are you thing and you enjoy making them, then go for it. For the rest of us, we can let go of the idea that we have to have the perfectly set table, beautiful seasonal decor or Pinterest worthy food display.
You don’t need matching plates, themed decor or a perfectly set table to enjoy the presence of friends and family over. Seasonal parties and decorations are nice and they are special but they aren’t necessary for everyday hospitality.
Don’t Stay Indoors
Summer is the perfect time to grill out and play outside. Set up a table on the back deck, have a bucket of balls or other outdoor toys and games, fill a cooler with some ice and water with a pitcher of lemonade nearby and fire up the grill.
Don’t feel like you have to stay cooped up in the house or even in the kitchen. This is the season to enjoy the weather outdoors and to have fun with your company.
Do Keep It Frugal
It doesn’t have to be expensive to have people over. Keep the menu simple and don’t worry about an elaborate five course meal. You can even host a pot-luck or buffet style meal.
While it’s probably not the best etiquette to invite someone over then tell them what to bring, you can certainly accept an offer if they ask! I also like to keep the meal prep simple by laying out all the food on the counter in a buffet style that way everyone can eat what they want and no one is wasting any food.
Don’t Think You Have to Plan an Event
Your having friends over to enjoy their company and welcoming them in your home, don’t think you have to plan an entire evening of games and entertainment. Enjoy the time you are spending with your friends, neighbors or family. Laugh, tell stories, get to know one another intentionally.
Whether you choose to invite the neighbors over, friends, a family from church or you own family, opening the doors to your home can be relaxing and fun. In fact I have always found that when I’m practicing hospitality by serving other, so often it’s my own heart that is often blessed too!
What are your simple tips for making hospitality stress free and more enjoyable?
Free Hospitality Video Series
If you want to dive in and learn even more about hospitality – from the Biblical command to a beginner’s guide to extending hospitality – check out my free video series on hospitality! Sign up to get a three part video training so you can discover the joy in practicing Biblical hospitality.