If you’ve been around this blog for any amount of time, it’s no secret that I love to talk about hospitality. I guess it’s probably because that’s one of the biggest purposes our homes serve—a place of safety, acceptance, and love for others to come into and experience.
But sometimes hospitality can feel overwhelming. It can feel like just too much, or not possible in the season we’re currently in. Maybe you think “I’ll invite people in once we finish that project, decorate that room, do that landscaping, etc.” But that time never seems to come. And I wonder if you’re like me and tired of waiting until things are perfect to invite people in.
So I want to introduce you to a different type of hospitality. A hospitality that gives grace, not only to the guests, but also to the hosts. A hospitality that says “come as you are, for I will be as I am.” A hospitality with less pressure, stress, last minute cleaning frenzies, complicated menus, and expectations. Hospitality just as you are.
To describe this idea of hospitality just as you are, I want to quote this article on Scruffy Hospitality:
Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy hospitality means you hunger more for good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, not what you don’t have. Scruffy hospitality means you’re more interested in quality conversation than the impression your home or lawn makes. If we only share meals with friends when we’re excellent, we aren’t truly sharing life together.
Don’t allow a to-do list disqualify you from an evening with people you’re called to love in friendship. Scheduling is hard enough in our world. If it’s eating with kind, welcoming people in a less than perfect house versus eating alone, what do you think someone would choose? We tell our guests ‘come as you are,’ perhaps we should tell ourselves ‘host as you are.’
I so long for this! Don’t you? And I think it’s possible! But because it can be so different from the kind of hospitality or hosting we’re used to, it’s definitely something we can ease into. So why not this—try it out with some close friends or family, and see what it’s like! And maybe you already do this with those who are close to you, which is great! Then try it with someone who you don’t know as well!
If you want, you can let your friends in on the secret—that you’re practicing hospitality without perfection. That way their expectations are in the right spot, and you can all just enjoy a relaxed evening. You can even let them in on the guidelines below.
A Few Guidelines
- No deep cleaning of the whole house. Wipe down the bathroom and make sure there’s TP. (You don’t want to put your guests in an awkward situation.) Done!
- Wear whatever you were already wearing. Embrace your slippers and “house sweater” look!
- No fancy menu. Simplicity is key. Cook what you would cook on any normal night.
Obviously, you can tweak any of those guidelines, or even choose not to follow them! But it’s all about feeling freedom to be hospitable to others even when life is crazy and you don’t have time to dust all the end tables and come up with a 3 course dinner. It’s about inviting others in to your everyday life.
Yes! Still host big parties and fancy dinners if that’s your thing. But don’t feel like that’s the only way you can have people over. Don’t feel like everything needs to be perfect in order to invite people into your home. Be hospitable, just as you are.
A Couple Variations
Here are a couple ideas to get you started on fun ways to be hospitable just as you are. Obviously, you can just invite someone over any old time and feed them whatever. That totally counts. But if you want to get a little creative with it, then these are for you!
Crappy Dinner Party
A crappy dinner party is exactly what it sounds like—a dinner party that’s “crappy” due to the lack of prep involved. There’s a super simple menu—pretty much whatever you would make on a normal weeknight. Don’t go shopping for a bunch of exotic ingredients for a fancy recipe—instead make your signature pasta with jar sauce, or veggie hash, or grilled chicken and potatoes. And then just follow the other guidelines—no major cleaning, no fancy clothes, just life.
Bring Your Own Dinner (BYOD)
BYOD dinner parties basically go something like this: everyone brings their own dinner, whether it’s something they picked up at the drive-through, the grocery store deli, or leftovers from their own home. Whoever’s hosting could provide drinks, and someone else could volunteer to bring dessert. Otherwise everything is BYOD. And TYOT—Take Your Own Trash. Cleaning up after yourselves further makes the evening super easy on the host and puts the focus on just being together, rather than the event of preparing and cleaning.
Have one night a week or month where you have a standing invitation with friends for them to come over for dinner. A simple theme like “Taco Tuesdays” can be helpful—your friends always know what to expect and you always know what to make! A standing invitation is a great way to make sure you see your friends or family, no matter how crazy life gets.
So how can you show hospitality, just as you are? Who can you invite over to practice this kind of hospitality that happens mid-life? Why not shoot them a text now?