I’ve been trying to learn the true meaning of hospitality. In my research, I’ve learned that hospitality is much simpler than I thought. Dictionary.com defines hospitality as such: The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.
Reading that easy definition suddenly made me feel that hospitality doesn’t have to be as complicated as I’ve been making it. Hospitality doesn’t have to be a burden. There’s a difference between being hospitable and being entertaining.
You see, I’m learning that I love to entertain. I love hosting birthday bashes, baby showers, engagement parties, (conferences, ahem), you name it! I enjoy the planning, preparation, and execution of an event where everyone comes together and has a great time. But you know what? That’s all about me. Those are things I enjoy.
Hospitality shouldn’t just be about a process I enjoy. As the definition above states, it’s about being friendly and welcoming. However, in order to be friendly and welcoming, there are a few things I need to do. Hint: cleaning for hours isn’t one of them. I hope you’ll join me in these in order to become more hospitable as well.
5 Ways to Make Hospitality Easy
- Realize hospitality isn’t about you; it’s about the guest. When we focus solely on the needs of our guest rather than our shortcomings (i.e. spotless house, perfectly prepared food), the visit becomes more enjoyable for everyone.
- Lay down perfection. We’ve all been to a friend’s house where she spends the time pointing out and apologizing for household imperfection. It’s uncomfortable for everyone involved. This goes back to focusing on the guest. Your home doesn’t have to be perfect. Aim for neat, and concentrate on being mentally present for your guest.
- Keep easy food options on hand. Part of being hospitable is welcoming guests when they need welcoming. You never know when a friend will have a hard day – that’s when she needs your hospitality. Not necessarily when you’ve cleaned your whole home and made a 5 course meal. Keep simple items in your pantry specifically for guests – chips, salsa, boxed cake mixes, coffee and tea!
- Let go of the party mentality. We’d all love every day to be a party – but life just isn’t that way. You don’t have to entertain a large crowd. Invite over a friend or two. Welcome your elderly neighbor into your home. You don’t have to host an army.
- Don’t wait! You don’t have to wait for a birthday or anniversary. There doesn’t have to be a reason – simply being an open door is enough.
How do you show hospitality? How do you teach your children to be hospitable?