When you hear the word “Hospitality”, do you cring inside or do the wheels in your head start turning with ideas? Do you shy away from having friends or family over because of your lack of space? We hope after reading this, you will be encouraged to practice more hospitality.
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The Free Dictionary defines Hospitality as: “Cordial and generous reception of or disposition toward quests”
“Generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests : hospitable treatment. : the activity of providing food, drinks, etc.”
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary: “The act or practice of receiving and entertaining strangers or guests without reward, or with kind and generous liberality.”
My husband grew up in a home where extra folks were over all the time. Missionary families, friends, extended family were always welcomed. Some would stay for a meal, others for days at a time. My family, on the other hand, would often be the ones who went to others’ houses.
When we got married, we brought a mixture of thoughts and practices for the way we wanted our own home to be. I, for one, had to learn how to practice hospitality.
*When we first started out, I thought that everything had to be spick and span clean, no dirt, (ha!), but I quickly learned that a perfectly spotless home isn’t what makes a person feel welcome. It’s how they are treated by the host or hostess. The atmosphere of the home. To see how we’ve come to love dirt, read this!
*No coat closet? It’s ok! Take the coats and put them on your bed, then shut the door!
*For extra eating space: use card tables placed in hallways, living rooms, front porches, or enclosed garages. One set of my grandparents has like 30+ grandkids…I remember eating meals out in their garage with my cousins; we thought we were pretty special to get our own “private dining”. Use a for colder temperatures. 🙂 Kids are resilient; they can handle it!
*Make it an indoor picnic. Spread blankets or sheets on the floor for kiddos. Clean up is a breeze as well. Just take it outside and shake off the crumbs.
*Use any extra stools, totes, or milk crates as coffee tables or tv trays.
*One simple thing I’ve learned is to set the table! It might sound like a “Well, duh! Doesn’t everybody?” Not really….but it does give a nice southern charm to showing hospitality. Don’t worry if your flatware doesn’t match! It’s even okay to use plastic. 🙂
*This same rule applies to dishes. Not everyone has a complete set of fine china or the latest Pioneer Woman plates, (although they sure are pretty…) If you do, praise the Lord and enjoy them! Use them to bless others. Of course, use discernment here. You wouldn’t want to give the 150 year old family heirloom plates to the 8 year olds…
**It used to really bother me that I didn’t have a matching set of 8 or 10 dishes. It’s amazing what the Lord uses to sanctify us…
There did come a Christmas when I asked for a set of dishes from Walmart and my husband graciously bought them. Then one day, while visiting some local antique stores, I spotted a set of 8 yellow rose china…for only $35! Plates, cups & saucers, bowls, and a platter. Now, being the bargain hunter that I am, I asked if they’d take $25 for all of it. They said YES! (It’s the little things…)
*Eat outside (as weather permits). Not just for cookouts! Our trampoline makes a great table for kids. Some of our best memories were made out under the Catalpa Tree while sitting in lawn chairs and eating corn on the cob.
*Put tables out on porches. Our family does this a lot during the holiday season. We put leftover soups, casseroles, and desserts out there. It’s a covered porch, and always nice and cool. The only thing you have to worry about is keeping an eye out for hungry cats or squirrels. It’s no fun to reach for your pumpkin pie and find it half eaten along with paw prints in the center. —greens don’t do well left out over night…they freeze too easily.
*Use an extra cloth shower curtain as a tablecloth. I have 3 that I rotate between table and shower. And yes, I wash them in between uses 😉
*Limited counter space? Place a across your kitchen sink to put casseroles or other dishes on.
*Keep the menu simple. You don’t have to have a 7 course meal to show hospitality to others. A simple pot of stew, chicken nuggets, or even store bought pizza is ok. There may be a day when you are able to do more, but remember: live with what you’re given!
*Now, if you’ve been given an extra bedroom or basement, use it! I’m always reminded of 2 stories from Scripture about hospitality. One is about a couple who build a room on for a traveling missionary
(2 Kings 4), while the other is about a single mother who offers bread. (1 Kings 17)
Two completely different scenerios, but both show hearts that want to share.
*For more ideas for small spaces, check out our Pinterest board.
Ikea also has great ideas for utilizing the area you’ve been given.
Keep in mind, practicing hospitality is about the other people. Start small and simple. Invite 1 or 2 people over, then as you get the hang of it, add more folks to the event. Enjoy Them!! 🙂