Hospitality: Creating a Welcoming Home

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

There are a lot of details that go into homemaking. It's much more nuanced that people first believe and about more than the practical. Relational homemaking is just as important as clean counters and homemade dinners. Because it can be too easy to overlook the relational aspect, but all relationships take constant work. That's why hospitality is such an important part of being a homemaker. I talked all about creating regular happy hours as a form of hospitality. And about making our home feel cozy by adding finishing touches. But those are just parts of creating a welcoming atmosphere, one that extends to guest and the home's inhabitants alike. Aside from clearing the clutter and making sure the hand soap is stocked, how can you create a feeling that says 'you are always welcome here'?

Genuine happiness that people are around. People can always tell when you want them around and when you don't. I'm sure you've felt it yourself, because we all want to feel welcomed and included so it's glaringly obvious when we're not. This is something I think all my friends would say I excel at - I changed schools many times so I can always tell when someone is feeling left out and always make sure to include them. It's merely one more muscle we have to strengthen. But the key in practicing this and showing people that they are welcome is to, well, not complain about it. If you have people stop by last minute and think to yourself that you're too busy, that shows in your attitude and your actions. Choose to see it as a gift and an opportunity rather than one more thing on your task list. Show genuine happiness that a guest has arrived and genuine interest in them and their life.

Willing to be inconvenienced. I had a whole post already about living a life that's full, not busy. And that's because I never want my loved ones to feel like they are an inconvenience to me. There are times when life events happens and people need to stop by, and yes maybe it's not the best time and therefore an inconvenience. But I'm always willing to be inconvenienced when my people need me. John's sister should never feel bad that she needs to swing by, have a beer, and talk about a bad date. My mom should know she can stop over any morning for coffee and a chat about her crazy siblings. This willingness to be inconvenienced builds relationships - they know they're loved, not a burden.

Ability to set aside distractions. When it comes to inviting people into your home, I do mean visual distractions, yes. No clutter and mess distracting the eye or hiding places to sit. But I mostly mean those pesky digital distractions. Creating a welcoming home means giving your full attention, and that does not involve being on your phone when you have company. It shows them that they are interesting enough and that you're fully involved in the conversation.

Relaxed host. People notice when the host isn't relaxed and they feel like they can't relax either. Who wants to just sit around when your host is running from room to room, cooking and cleaning and worrying? The fact is, most of those things don't matter. Your guests don't care about perfectly presented food or whether or not the bed is made. They just want to be with you. Close the bedroom door and serve cookies on a paper plate. If the need for perfection is driving you to stress, you need to change your mindset. Present is better than perfect.
"Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear, and sadness." - J.R.R. Tolkien
I think remembering these points helps to create this place of refuge. And of course, it's important to extend all of these things to the home's regular inhabitants too - phone and television free dinners with John are the best parts of the day!

Do you think people know they're welcome in your space, or is it something you're trying to work on? How do you make guests feel at home?