With the purchase of our new home, my husband and I have really discovered how much we love entertaining. We want our home to be a domestic church where people can feel accepted and loved. My husband reminded me of this quote:
” I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars. You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.”Pope Francis
We weren’t always that way though. In fact, we never used to entertain. More on that here.
With that said, it’s A LOT of work! Here’s what I’m learning to make things just a little bit easier:
- Be prepared: a video from Daily Connaissuer . I love how she talks about her experience about not being received properly! So good to know as a host. I don’t think we care enough about etiquette these days, but it is so important for people to feel valued and to build strong relationships.
2. Create an entertaining batch list . What this is is a list that you focus on for a duration of time, in one fell swoop. I don’t know about you but I become like this when it’s party time:
With a reusable list, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time. Here’s an example of my batch list that I use for entertaining. Feel free to print it our and hang it on the inside of your cabinet or on your fridge.
3. Use Walmart Grocery pickup.
Or some other method to outsource grocery shopping. Instacart and Amazon Fresh are great also. This is especially helpful if you have small children – you don’t have to bring everyone inside the store and risk humiliation and bodily fluid accidents and …not that any of that that has happened to me…
4. If your guests ask to bring anything , always say yes.
Even if it’s just some cookies or a board game, that helps relieve your burden as the hostess! It also makes your guests happy to know that the contributed.
5. Remember your guests want to be there, so if things aren’t perfect it will be okay .
Don’t say “sorry the house is the mess” , “we need to redecorate” or other things like this. This can make your guests feel uncomfortable. Instead, just say “I’m so glad you here, it’s so good to see you!”
6. Run the dishwasher once before their arrival if it’s a dinner party.
This trick helps with the after-party cleanup because chances are, you will need an entire dishwasher available for all of your party dishes.
7. Allow yourself to leave the dishes till the next day if you need to.
Usually I’m pretty tired after a party even though I had a blast. I love to wake up to a clean kitchen but I have to consider my resources here. Giving myself the grace to leave the dishes to the next day is sometimes just what I need.
8. Work hard to prepare for the party but leave margin for some relaxation before guests arrive.
Spend the last hour/half hour before guests arrive, relaxing. Have a glass of wine, put on some relaxing music, take a bath or shower. It’s all good! Recently I was feeling especially stressed so I actually did a grounding exercise before they came. I was amazed at how well it worked! Here is is:
9. Watch cooking shows for inspiration. I love Paula Dean, Good Eats, the Barefoot Contessa and Giada De Laurentiis. These amazing chefs give me ideas of wonderful things to make, even if it’s just a simple chocolate sauce for ice cream:
With a double boiler, you melt together a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a pint of heavy cream. Ta-da! So simple, but so luxurious.
10. Learn the art of conversation.
Don’t monopolize the conversation. Don’t brag. Show interest in the people around you. Ask questions. Validate other people. Compliment them. Trust me, you will end the part much happier and at peace.
11. Allow yourself to get fancy when you have time, and to do things simply when you don’t have the resources. It’s all good! I’ve made meatballs from scratch and I’ve done frozen pizza. The important thing was, there was food. The end.
12. If your guests offer to help, resist the urge to say “I’ve got it!” Entertaining is always a HUGE endeavor, especially when you have small children or other people under your care. Just say yes, even if it’s something small like chopping some fruit or veggies, or taking a trash bag around and gathering garbage at the end.
13. Most of all, invite, invite, invite. It’s okay if you are doing most of the inviting. You are the one that wants company, after all! It’s okay if this isn’t perfectly reciprocated as long as you have evidence in your relationship that the feelings are mutual. More on that here.