Do you have a home where people stop by unexpected?
How do you feel about that? Do you wish people stopped by more or does it really fluster you when they do? Are you limited geographically or do others now know you do not want unannounced visits? If it bothers you when people stop by unannounced, why is that?
Let me ask you one more question. If you enjoy your home and it’s a place you want to be, are you prepared for the opportunity to welcome others to it? Sometimes that opportunity provides plenty of time to plan and sometimes it presents itself spur-of-the-moment. Are you prepared when it is more last minute? Do you want to be?
I remember back to my lifestyle in college. Granted, funds and privacy were low and youthful ambition high. But I remember how easy it was to welcome others into our living situation. “Come join the fun, we’re glad you’re here! We’re having tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner! Join us!” Great conversations happened around the dinner table nightly with everyone from our Shakespeare professor to some future husbands. We decorated with whatever we had and cleaned college style. Life was good; hospitality easy.
But more than that, because my roommates and I were “family” at the time and creating a home with each other, it spilled over to others. In college, this meant many meals, study-time, and long talks together. Now, in this life season, it means creating a home where children can flourish safely and hard-working parents can take a break. And because I work hard on this for the five of us, it’s much easier to extend it to others.
There are many tangible ways to extend hospitality to others spontaneously. I’ve written before about How To Build Your Tea Party Pantry, describing what you need for the impromptu afternoon tea with a few friends. I am also further inspired this Christmas by one of Allison’s suggestions:
Organize a vintage hospitality table. Choose a sideboard and pile it with vintage saucers holding candy canes, tiny teaspoon’s and fir-cones. Put baubles and those scrumptiously wrapped amoretti on three tiered cake stands. Wrap linen napkins in velvet ribbon and lay them on a stack of your favorite plates, next to a small plate of sugar dusted mince pies. Fill jars with mini gingerbread men, biscotti and star shaped biscuits. Add glasses, a choice bottle of something Christmassy, a few emergency wrapped bottles or gifts, some kids Christmas chocolate, and a few whimsical decorations, some fruit, dried fruit and nuts- and voila you have a table of scrumptious offerings for everyone from your milk man to your next-door neighbor…
Like my tea corner, it’s in process. I’ve started by wrapping up a few simple gifts and polishing the silver. Can’t lay out treats early so the children aren’t too tempted to sneak or bug me for snitches. But this morning, when we attended our last co-op class for this semester, I told my daughter she could go pick out presents for her teachers as a thank-you. She delights in giving gifts, and I loved being prepared.
What helps you practice hospitality at the spur-of-the-moment? Do you enjoy it? Why or why not? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.