I have a friend, a wonderful, long-time friend who is quite the hostess. She’s an inspiration to me really. Often she hosts little gatherings with only a few gals while other times she hosts big gatherings with many friends and family. Each and every time I head home feeling very loved and taken care of. She has that knack, you know? She seems to be completely in control without an ounce of stress showing.
But, on a few occasions she’s confided in me saying that she does stress out. Especially when she’s putting on a large gathering. She wants everything to be perfect and pretty. She also says the more she practices, the easier it gets.
It’s silly really, how we strive for perfection in showing others what we can do to make a good party when really, hospitality is all about loving on the people who gather.
Hospitality is something I really want to practice more. I make excuses all the time because I don’t think our home is very good for entertaining. Our kitchen only fits one person at a time, and our dining table only sits four. And the toys, oh the toys everywhere! But, on the few occasions that I have had people over, it’s been wonderful! It’s been a nice time catching up with the people that I’ve wanted to catch up with! That’s what really matters.
First of all, the key to hospitality on a budget is to keep it simple. Here are some ideas to help keep things simple:
Allow others to help
I really appreciate it when the host allows me to get in there and help. Whether it be with dishes or with setting the food out, I love having a task to do. Since I’m not particularly great at interacting with a whole crowd of people at once, this allows me to gather and speak with only a few people that are near my “task” area. I’m more comfortable that way. I’m pretty sure allowing others to help also frees up some of the burden the host may be feeling!
Serve tea/coffee with a simple treat
If you want to have several people over, but can’t afford to serve a crowd of people a full meal, just have them over for tea or coffee and a simple treat! The friend I mentioned earlier always has a loaf of banana bread in her freezer that she can easily pull out! On another occasion, a friend invited me over at the spur of the moment and served me coffee with these oven S’mores. It was so simple, but the thought amazed me!
Buy store bought treats
Sometimes to make things really easy, I buy a bag of two bite brownies and serve them up with a dollop of whipping cream. Who doesn’t love two bite brownies? Same goes for meals. Sometimes a store-bought lasagna costs less than the homemade version.
Make it a Potluck
If you’ll be having a large gathering, turn it into a potluck! Why be responsible for everything when others love to bring some of their favourite dishes?
Maybe this isn’t quite keeping things simple because planning can be extra work in itself, but by planning ahead, you might just be able to stash some homemade goodies in your freezer for an impromptu get-together. Or maybe you’ll be able to stock up on a few party friendly things when they go on sale. Or maybe you can spend some time compiling a list of guest friendly meals so you don’t have to spend time stressing about what you’ll feed your guests.
Don’t wait until things are perfect
You or your home don’t have to be perfect before inviting someone over. That person may very well be blessed just to see that things aren’t so perfect in your life! So what if you haven’t done last night’s dishes? Or there’s crumbs all over the floor? If true hospitality is opening our homes and lives to others then it doesn’t matter what state you or your home are in because you’re inviting them in where you are at in life. While we generally want our homes to be inviting, and relatively clean, don’t let imperfections hinder your from sharing your home!
Forget about food
I know, I know, a gathering without food is not as fun, but it’s doable! Serve some drinks, offer good conversation and bring out a game to get the good times rolling. After all, Hospitality is simply about welcoming others into our homes and lives.
Do you have any frugal hospitality tips? What do you do to keep things more simple? Please share!