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An Opportunity to Practice Hospitality

I’m going to share a few things I’ve done to take the anxiety out of hospitality.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner we will all have many opportunities to practice hospitality.

I’ve been married over thirty years and have cooked hundreds of meals, some quite fancy, and some quite plain. We’ve hosted our church picnics where we served over 100 people and had intimate dinners with just another couple. There is really no right or wrong way to make meals for guests, other than the food should be edible of course.

I’m going to share a few things I’ve done to take the anxiety out of hospitality.

  • Work on 2-3 meals that you are totally comfortable preparing.
    • Practice on your family so they are almost fool proof and don’t cause you anxiety about your ability to prepare them.
    • When we moved here ten years ago I knew we would be inviting families over from our new church so we could get to know them.
    • I planned one easy to make menu that I served each time we had someone new over. I did keep track of who we had over so I wasn’t preparing the same thing several times for the same people.
    • I have a couple of indoor meals and one grilled picnic type meal that I can put together easily.
    • I try to keep the ingredients on hand for these meals.
  • Let your guests bring something if they offer.
    • I know I’m always more comfortable when I can bring something to share.
    • Ask ahead of time about allergies and preferences. If allergies are a problem for your guests perhaps they would like to bring something that their allergic person can eat without concern.
  • Leave some preparations for them to help with.
    • This is something I struggle with. In this article Rejection and How to Deal with it I talk about some things I wish I had done differently with my mother-in-law.
  • Check out our book Family Favorites for the Holidays for other holiday ideas. Family-Favorites new cover 233x350

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  • June
    Posted October 17, 2015 at 3:56 PM

    Great tips, Phyllis!

  • Ruth
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 8:12 AM

    Your idea to know several recipes very well makes a lot of sense:).

    I once read how a lady would specifically keep a prepared meal in the freezer, or the ingredients for a quick and easy one on hand (as well as things like chips and salsa to increase a meal). That way, unexpected (or short notice) company were always welcome, and it was not a stress to feed them.

    This sounds like something I want to put into practice, in my own home (at this point, we have enough girls around to pitch in and put a meal together, while others visit)!

    • Post Author
      Phyllis Sather
      Posted October 16, 2015 at 12:20 PM

      Those are some great ideas Ruth. Being prepared does make things much easier to be spontaneous.

      A prepared meal could also be used to take to someone who is just having a bad day – an “I love you” meal.

  • Belinda
    Posted October 15, 2015 at 6:34 PM

    Hi Phyllis – its been a while since I visited here. I was talking about your Purposeful Planning book the other day and thought I’d pop over to see what was happening on your blog! Still think your Purposeful Planning book is one of the best!

    • Post Author
      Phyllis Sather
      Posted October 16, 2015 at 1:27 AM

      What a fun surprise to see your name on my site. Thank you for your kind words. How are you doing?

  • Dawnita
    Posted October 15, 2015 at 12:41 PM

    I am loving this series on hospitality! I used to not accept when guests would offer to bring something but I’ve learned. Out here in the boonies it can be hard to get good produce, so that’s something I always suggest. It’s usually something they can pick up easily & leaves me time for baking.

    • Post Author
      Phyllis Sather
      Posted October 15, 2015 at 3:24 PM

      I used to never let anyone bring anything or help with anything. Inheriting my mother-in-laws journals changed me quickly when I read what she wrote about feeling left out. I thought I was being kind to her, but she wanted to help and be a part of things.

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