Hospitality Around Holidays

Does hospitality around the holidays stress you out?

According to the lyrics of one Christmas song, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” While this is true for many of us, it’s also not true for just as many. Holidays often amplify the grief of those who’ve lost a loved one. These special days can accentuate the loneliness of the alone. Our celebrations often magnify the stress levels of the distressed.

How can we counteract the loneliness, stress and grief?

We can give people a place to be when they’d otherwise be alone.

Hospitality is the friendly and generous reception of guests, visitors, or strangers. The word is actually from two Greek words: Phileo which means love plus some other Greek word that means strangers. So, it’s more than having a dinner party for your BFF. Rather, it is extending love to strangers.


Change your Hospitality Focus

Somewhere along the line, hospitableness came to be called entertaining. Entertaining is providing amusement and enjoyment. Hospitality is the friendly and generous reception of visitors, guests and strangers. See the difference? As you change your focus, your heart and habits will change too. You won’t feel the need to have everything perfect. You will start opening your home and yourself to others.


Change your Hospitality Method

Maybe. The goal of hospitality isn’t Pinterest perfect table-scapes and 7 course dinners. If you enjoy cooking and/or setting a beautiful table, go for it. Especially as it furthers your goal of generous and friendly reception. But, if the fancy table setting and elaborate meal making is getting in the way of genuine hospitality, or if  you or your guests are stressed, then scale back. Your goal is a welcoming atmosphere, not besting Martha Stewart.

An amateur tip: lighting and music are the best mood setters. Dim the lights, lights a few candles and play some mellow music as your guests arrive.


Change your Hospitality Expectations

Hospitality is messy and costly. It costs in time and resources and energy. Don’t think it doesn’t. Things get broken. Mud gets tracked in. But, it’s only things. And houses can be whipped back into shape. Hospitality is no strings attached. We don’t invite people over in order to be invited back. Remember that we are extending love to stranger and focusing  on building relationships.


Change your Hospitality Apologies

Those who practice hospitality are sharing what they have, not apologizing for what they don’t have. We vulnerably let people into our heart and life. Its real, not a facade.  Therefore, there is nothing to apologize for. Graciously say, “thank you,” to any compliment on your home or meal.


Change your Hospitality Habits

Finally, make a habit of regularly hosting people. Once a week. Every other week. Like with everything, practice makes perfect. We get to be better hosts and become more relaxed about having “strangers” in our home. We learn to make conversation and delve deeper. So, do it regularly.

You’re hitting the mark when people leave feeling better about themselves than about you. When they are feeling loved and welcomed and not impressed with your mad entertaining skillz.


Who will you welcome into your home and heart this holiday season? 

For more tips, check out the She Plans Dinner blog and shop.