Welcome others with this simple collection of tips and tricks for a hospitable home.
Tips and Tricks for the Hospitable Home
Don’t overthink everything
Aren’t we so prone to this? The house has to be perfect, the meal gourmet, and the children well behaved or the evening is a flop. Reality is, the people you will have in your home are real people too. Their homes get messy, their children misbehave, they don’t always cook elaborate meals. If you are a chef or love to cook, awesome! Use that and make something amazing. If you are a meticulously clean person, fantastic! Scrub to your heart’s content and the glory of God. But if you are none of those things, do the work the Lord has called you to and invite people into the life He has given you. People will appreciate that far more than everything perfectly planned and executed. Check out this article if you are looking for some more encouragement in this.
Maybe the thought of having people over every day puts you into a cold sweat. I’ve been there. My best advice if this is your situation is to start small. Plan to have people in your home once or twice a month. Start with people you feel comfortable with. Don’t stop there but if this is new to you, just open the door. Welcome people into your life and heart. If you plan to do this once or twice a month I think there is a good chance you will come to love and appreciate the ministry of hospitality and soon be doing it more and more. For now, though, just start.
Yes, you can start with being intentionally hospitable once a month, but you need to commit to actually doing it. You need to set a commitment in your mind and heart and planner (if you use one!) that you will be hospitable. After a while you may not need to set a special evening for hospitality in your planner because it will (hopefully!) become a lifestyle. It will always take commitment, however, because sometimes it just feels easier to live a life of relative solitude. I can promise you, God’s way of living life in community is always better though.
If you are shy around new people, invite more people.
That might sound like a crazy idea but if you are shy or uncomfortable around new people invite a friend who isn’t. Spending one on one time with someone you don’t know well can be very disarming for many. Instead of feeling the pressure. Ask another friend to join you. Then work to make sure everyone is involved in the conversation. This helps time to flow much easier, relieves the burden of carrying a conversation, and allows more relationships to form. I know several people who do this with new families at church which is a tremendous blessing because the new family is then able to meet more people and gain an even better connection.
Make a simple meal.
Don’t go crazy. Make something that is easy, that you can almost cook in your sleep. For me, that is something like macaroni and cheese or lasagna. Both options are great because I can do most of the dishes while they cook and there isn’t too much clean up after. I also am a huge fan of crockpot meals and soups because they can stay hot and ready for a long time if guests are late in arriving or we get carried away talking before the meal. A couple of great suggestions are The Easiest Lasagna Ever & 3 Ingredient Taco Chicken.
Ask about food issues
I have Crohn’s disease. That means there are a lot of regular food items I can’t have. I am used to this and it doesn’t bother me to spend time at the homes of people who are serving these items because I just know if I eat them I will get very sick so I am happy to just spend time with people. It is always a blessing to me, however, when our host asks whether or not I have food allergies or sensitivities. There are plenty of spur of the moment hospitality opportunities where asking this question isn’t possible but if you are planning ahead for someone to come over, it really is a blessing when you ask ahead of time and makes your guests feel loved and considered.
Set up a regular cleaning routine.
I shudder to even include this because I am adamant that your home does not need to be in perfect condition for you to be hospitable. There is something very welcoming about a home that is filled with life and realism rather than picture perfect. However, I am a homemaker and I know how challenging it can be to swing open doors to a home you are struggling to maintain. That’s why I make this suggestion. A cleaning routine is a great way to keep your home from getting overwhelming and when it is not overwhelming you will be more likely to let others join you. The number one thing that has helped my efforts around the house is the rule “a place for everything and everything in its place.” I really enjoyed this post about a cleaning routine!
And my absolute favorite house cleaning quote to keep in mind is,
“If you came to see me, come on in! If you came to see my house, make an appointment.”
Keep a few items on hand
My favorite items to keep on hand for spontaneous hospitality opportunities are coffee, a few flavors of tea, and frozen cookie dough. I usually make my cookie dough and freeze it in balls but store bought cookie dough would have the same effect. Fudgy brownies are great in the freezer and thaw quickly as well. Having a few quick staples like that on hand makes hosting easier because they help facilitate conversation and make everyone feel welcome.
Talk to your children about hospitality often
We all have to learn about hospitality and why it is important. It doesn’t come natural to any of us. My 4-year-old is the most outgoing person I have ever met. She has never met a stranger and absolutely adores having people in our home to spend time with. To her it makes no difference who they are, she just wants to spend time with them. But hospitality doesn’t even come natural to her. Talking does but willingness to share and wanting the best for someone else even when it means a change of plans or less for her does not. It doesn’t for any of us. Thinking about others and their good above our own is a gift from God. We learn it and He makes it grow in us. This is where talking to our children about being hospitable comes in.
As parents, we must teach our children to love others genuinely and to seek their good. We need to talk to them about the joy it is to give to others and why Christ has commanded it. We need to model a real love for others and enthusiasm for being a blessing.
Be willing to be inconvenienced.
Sometimes welcoming another into your heart means inconvenience on your part. There is a sacrifice of time and resources that goes along with opening our homes and hearts. We must be willing to be inconvenienced. Sometimes meeting the needs of others will mean less in the budget, sometimes it will mean less sleep, sometimes it will mean less time. But any sacrifice we make in our effort to love others is well worth it. We know our Lord sees our efforts and we serve others as though we were serving Him (Matthew 25).
“If you run out of food, make pancakes.”
That quote is from Rosaria Butterfield and while I usually don’t have the supplies on hand for pancakes, I love the sentiment. If something doesn’t go according to plan, make the best of it. If 5 extra people show up, add a few more items to the table. Even if everything doesn’t fit well with the meal everyone will enjoy the time together more than they would a perfectly planned evening. Go with the flow and make the best of every opportunity. You never know what God is trying to teach you or those who gather at your table through this opportunity.
Just be hospitable
Don’t let fear of inadequacy stop you. There will always be something that you think could have gone better than it did. The Bible commands hos
pitality (Romans 12:13). The people of God benefit tremendously from hospitality. God has been hospitable to you (Romans 15:7). Hospitality is important and impactful. Don’t let anything stand in your way, just be hospitable.
What are your favorite hospitality tips? I would love to hear them!