i have a friend who is an amazing hostess. she welcomes anyone in her home at any time. she’s able to do this, not only because this is one of her spiritual gifts, but also because she is prepared. she always has items on hand in her pantry to throw together a meal for 2 or twenty.
while cooking is not my specialty, i have found a couple things that help me be able to open my home with relative ease for large groups. and i’ll order pizza if i have to ;)
we’ve been a part of a growth group at our church for a few years and this session we’re meeting once a week at our house. while this seems like it could be a daunting task (20+ people in my house each week!), i found today as i was getting ready that its really not too hard. you just have to be willing to let go of perfection! and having a few key elements on hand helps, too.
over my 12ish married years, i’ve slowly gathered items that help for hosting gatherings (casual dinner, birthday parties, showers).
i have this cabinet in my dining room where i store my mason jars.
mason jars have so many uses, but we use them mostly for drinking out of. they are cheap and pretty sturdy, and you can get them at garage sales, drug stores, even grocery stores.
for our large growth group, we always eat dinner together first. i try to keep it pretty simple – nothing fancy.
for our wedding we registered for these heavy duty plates from pottery barn. turns out, all of my siblings and i registered for the same exact plates! when my brother and his family moved from our town to maui a couple years ago, we got their set of plates.
after throwing lots of wedding and baby showers our first couple years of marriage, i finally decided to get some inexpensive flatware. i got them at walmart and target for just a few dollars for a set of 8 or 12. i always have about 30 extra forks on hand.
these tiny mason jars are what we use everyday for our kids, and work great for group settings too.
for larger gatherings, i picked up the smaller plates at a garage sale and the dinner plates at ikea for about $1 each.
so now that i’m all ready for dinner (we do dinner potluck style, so i only had to provide a side dish), its time to clean the house.
this is the area that i have given up on, perfection-wise. well, i’ve never been a perfectionist when it comes to cleaning my house, but i have been known to spend a few hours cleaning the house when i know friends are coming over.
instead, i just covered the basics: wiped down counters and tables, cleaned potties and sinks, and picked up piles. i didn’t even bother to clean the floors since they were not only going to be covered with people, but covered with more dirt once the kids are running in and out of the house.
and see my white couches? where the slipcovers aren’t even zipped since they broke in the back. and you know what? no one cares!
and i didn’t even bother to clean the dirty cushions since i knew piles of dirty feet would be on them. (btw, white couches are awesome since i can just remove the covers and bleach them!)
and here’s the kids portion of our night. piles of kids and no worries!
so next time you have an opportunity to serve your friends by hosting a gathering, ignore perfection, cover the basics, and spend your time with your friends rather than worrying about keeping the house looking nice!