The Key to Hosting a Good Holiday Party
Growing up, hospitality was very important to Gordon Baergen’s family. His father was a Mennonite minister, so they often had visiting missionaries stay with them and people from the church stop by unannounced. “Our home was always open to whoever wanted to come,” remembers Gordon,
“Back then, generosity … was giving what we had … to whoever needed the help.”
The dining room may not have been picture perfect, but guests were always welcomed in to share a good meal and went home laden with gifts of produce or preserves from the family garden.
A Popular View of Holiday Hospitality
Today, one only has to browse the magazines in line at the grocery store to know that a ‘picture-perfect’ dinner is the key to a good holiday party. Yet, Gordon’s story above seems to speak much better to the kind of hospitality we should be striving for as we approach another holiday season.
When our thoughts turn to hospitality, we often think of hosting a dinner party or event. However, author and speaker Jen Wilkin stresses that entertaining and hospitality are not the same. We can throw a good party without extending hospitality. It comes down to motivation.
Hosting Tip: Simple is Best
While a Martha Stewart worthy table-scape is not a bad thing, it is important to check our motivations. Are we stressing over the minor details to make our guests feel welcome, or is it to impress them? Maybe your guests don’t see you much during a party because you’re camped out in the kitchen with a tricky dish.
Instead of using décor or food to remove us from the people in our homes, we should lean in and use the time to connect.
When entertaining focuses inward, stress gets the best of us; when we extend hospitality, the people we love do.
Hosting Tip: Be Present
Hospitality is rooted in being grateful for what we have and sharing it generously with those around us. It’s welcoming a friend in when the kitchen’s still a mess and the doorbell rings. It’s inviting a new neighbour to join us for dinner. It’s listening to Aunt Mabel’s story about her cat instead of running off to the kitchen. It’s about caring for the people in our lives, friends and strangers alike, and making them feel welcome, appreciated, and loved.
That is truly the key to hosting a good holiday party: making our guests feel loved and valued by being generous with our time and our homes.
So, whether we cook a four-course meal and serve it on fine china or order in pizza on paper plates, may we bless one another with hospitality as we celebrate the season together.