Some Thoughts About Hospitality

We started talking recently about what it means to be a hospitable in your 20s. When we think of hospitality we think of our mothers and grandmothers and how they threw dinner parties and had cakes prepared in case someone dropped in. How does it translate to our generation? What does it mean to us to have guests over and to create a comfortable environment while still remaining true to ourselves?

While it's really fun to just hang out and chill with friends, it's also really rewarding to have people over and have an intentional dinner or get together. There's nothing like feeding your friends  a good meal,  having meaningful conversations, and most importantly,  creating new connections with them. 

We searched around the web a bit and found that Martha Stewart, of course, keeps a chilled water bottle by the bedside table for her guests, carefully wraps towels in ribbon or twine to set aside, and provides a custom reading nook suited to her guest's taste. While those are brilliant and thoughtful ideas, they are somewhat ridiculous. We wanted to come up with some ideas that are relevant to our lifestyles as millennials. What does it mean to us who are building careers, families or busy in school? What are some ways to make time or make it a priority to invite guests over with a plan?

If cooking for a group stresses you out, come up with a different plan:
Megan is an incredible cook, she went to culinary school. It's second nature to her and she can whip up a complete meal from start to finish in no time and without breaking a sweat. It's such a joy to go to her house because you never know what she'll have brewing in the kitchen. I (Christina), do not cook. It's not that I can't. I'd probably be pretty good if I would just try a little more. But it stresses me out, especially when there are hungry people counting on me. If I cook I would rather just cook for myself so that if it turns out badly, there is no one to be disappointed. Needless to say, I'm the type that comes up with plan B, and if you're like me, I would suggest the same to you! Invite people over for drinks and dessert. I can always whip up some drinks and handle some desserts. Less stress is always more fun and the guests will always feel like they got a treat.

Stock up ahead of time and be prepared:
One way to enjoy your company and for them to enjoy your time is to have planned ahead. Offer more food or beverages to your guests during their time spent in your home. Greet them face to face when they come in. Make them feel at home. Make sure there's plenty of toilet paper and a clean bathroom (according to Real Simple this is one of the first things that guests will notice). The more you've had time to prepare for your guests ahead of time, the more you can enjoy the time you spend with them.
I (Megan) went to England when I was 13. I stayed at another family's house alone and it was my first time out of the US. When I went to bed on that first night, the little girl who lived there brought me a glass of water and said that her mom thought I would be thirsty because international flights can be dehydrating. I've never forgotten that simple little act. Her mom anticipated my needs and I immediately felt at ease. People just want to feel comfortable and hang out with you. Hospitality means recognizing people's needs and anticipating potential requests. Not that you need to bend over completely backwards, but it's nice to make sure your guests have had plenty to eat and they aren't dying of thirst. 

Just chill, hang out, and don't take it too seriously: 
The point behind having people over is to enjoy their company. It's not about following some specific guideline to make the evening a success. Make spending time together the priority and then add in the extras: plenty of food and drink, music, nice lighting. As mentioned before, you don't have to cook an extravagant meal if that isn't your thing. Do what feels natural to you and everyone will have a good time. 

Why go to all the trouble?:
Because we feel like those are the things that are worth it. There's no other experience like having someone over to your house for dinner. It's good to treat people and make them feel special. Heck, why not use all the plates and serve-ware you that you got as a gift that one time? 
We love to do posts here on Goldmine about how to make dip-dye napkins or how to do different tablescapes. Sure these things aren't necessarily important, but they do add something special to a home and people feel it when they walk through the door. We sort of believe that you get out of life what you put into it. Going the extra step to make our lives more beautiful and to inspire others to make their lives more beautiful is why we do what we do here on this journal. 

Much love, 
Megan + Christina 
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  1. Megan and Christina! I love this post! I get really hung up on all the little details and want everything to be just perfect for my guests. We have an old house and always seem to be in the middle of some major renovation project so I find myself saying 'when this is done I'll have people over' but I'm realizing now that life is too short to not have dinner parties! Looking back, your friends will remember the good food and conversation - not the color of the walls.

    1. Grace - yes exactly! I have to remind myself that as well because we also seem to have another project in the works and things are never "good enough" to have people over. We just have to make it happen and enjoy each other :) -Christina


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