With the holidays right around the corner, you might be thinking ahead to hosting get-togethers with your friends and family. I’ve discovered ways to welcome others into my home and not let stress get the best of me. Here’s my story:
I’m convinced I have a house-shaped heart. Creating a welcoming atmosphere in a home (park, backyard, or church) for family and friends is my love language. Does that mean I have a perfectly kept house and I’m a perfect hostess? Far from it. Come on over, and you’ll see plenty of imperfections and likely a bit of pandemonium. That’s why long ago I determined that I had to be a laid-back hostess or I’d never invite anyone over! I’ve found ways to work around my weaknesses and have a lot of fun with my strengths.
My joy in gathering people together doesn’t come from a desire to host an over-the-top, Pinterest-worthy party. My heart is stirred to create an intentional and meaningful experience to connect people to one another. As a home decor blogger, church planter’s wife, and mom of three, my house-shaped heart has come in handy. Preparing an inviting place for others is how my heart and soul come alive.
In spite of my passion for creating a comfortable home, I don’t have it all together. In fact, I’m missing two key ingredients most people associate with a born hostess: I’m not drawn to cooking, and—dun-dun-dun—I’m not an extrovert. Cooking just isn’t my thing. And although I enjoy conversation (as my husband can attest to), if the environment is awkward or draining, I want to quietly slip away or tiptoe upstairs and leave the partying to the extroverts.
Maybe you also feel as if you’re missing a few ingredients that would help you host with greater ease. If you have the cooking part down, maybe you worry about your small house or your lack of party-planning skills. Perhaps you think your budget or creativity is too limited or that the ages of your kids, your loud dogs, or your wavering sanity might tip you over the edge if you invite people over. I get that.
I’ve had all of those concerns at one point or another in my life, and often all at once. There are endless worries, excuses, or challenges that could prevent us from accepting the title of Hostess with the Mostess. But if we think genuine hospitality means doing it all perfectly, we’ve missed the point. Not being perfectly prepared or equipped is exactly what brings people together in an authentic way. The purpose of hospitality is to make people feel comfortable, not to impress them with our amazing talent or skill!
In the school of simple gatherings, there is just one rule: Don’t worry about rules. Simple gatherings should be as stress-free as possible, so don’t fret about the right or wrong way to gather or express your style, and don’t fear what might be expected of you as a hostess. (Who makes up those party-hosting rules anyway?)
I’ve developed a fun quiz to help you determine your unique hosting personality and you can even sign up to receive some tips that are customized to your hosting style. On the same page, you’ll find some free downloadable party planning guides.
Mom, I hope your holidays are filled with joy and good times with your family and friends!
Melissa Michaels is a popular blogger, author, and home decor expert. She and her husband live in the Seattle, Washington area and are the parents of three young adults.