The South is known for its hospitality and friendly people. Everybody waves when they pass you in the road whether they know you or not. Porches are necessities, and we always welcome friends and neighbors to stop by.
We love a good potluck or pig pickin, because a southern woman is always looking for an opportunity to show off her cooking skills. One thing that I have learned over the years is that hospitality doesn’t have to be a big showy deal. It is nice every now and then to have a big barbecue and invite the whole neighborhood, but on a everyday basis hospitality isn’t that big of an ordeal.
You don’t have to be from the South to love entertaining and practicing hospitality. It is just a way of life here. It used to stress me out. I always thought the house and food had to be perfect in order for us to have people over. Since having my daughter, I’ve really learned to let go of some of that perfectionism.
I’ve also been convicted that hospitality is not about impressing people. Hospitality is about serving others and opening up your home to them. Hospitality can really be a ministry to other people. If we remember that true reason for hosting people in our home, then we are less likely to get worked up and frazzled if something isn’t perfect.
Hospitality is not about the perfect place setting, tablescape, or gourmet meal. It is about opening our home to others, and the fellowship we share with them.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love nice place settings for special occasions, but they aren’t necessary for a casual dinner with friends. Keep things SIMPLE. If you are in a time crunch, order some pizzas and use paper plates. It’s no big deal.
I remember growing up my parents would have other families over for pizza and movie nights regularly. The kids and adults loved it, and everyone had a good time. Those are some of the memories that have stuck with me over the years.
I like to be able to have people over at the drop of a hat. This year for July 4th, we didn’t have any plans. I just mentioned to my husband that we should grill out, and just see if any of our friends would like to join us. In a matter of two days it went from having no plans to having 25 people over for a 4th of July cookout. Apparently nobody else had plans for the 4th either. I loved that it worked the way that it did. I did not get stressed about the event at all. We grilled the meat and everyone brought a side. We bought a couple of cheap blow-up pools for the kids, and we all had a great time relaxing outside.
In a Pinterest world, it makes us think that we have to go over the top for every event we plan. That is just unnecessary added stress. Keep it simple. Make your guest feel comfortable and at home. Don’t stress over the event. There is nothing worse for a guest to come over, and you are running around, irritable, and still trying to get everything ready. Just remember that practicing hospitality is not about keeping up appearances, it is about serving others.
If the thought of having people over immediately triggers you to be stressed. That means that you probably aren’t going about this the right way, or there are other areas of your life that need some work.
If you spend the majority of your time cleaning up your house in preparation of having people over, then it’s time for you to get rid of clutter and simplify your home.
If you spend the majority of your time trying to hurry and get everything cooked in time, then it’s time for you to simplify your menu.
If you feel like you don’t have time to practice hospitality, then it’s time for you to simplify your schedule.
Don’t overdo it, learn how to say no to things that aren’t essential, and make time for the things that matter.