Hospitality when your house is less than ‘grammable


We hosted a casual Easter lunch last week for a few friends, which wound down almost at dinner time as any good lunch does. It was an easy menu, and I decorated with a bouquet of lilies, our good tablecloth and dishes, and a few candles.

It seemed just right, until the night before, I had one of those panic moments that comes of living in the Pinterest Age.

“Should I have made hand-lettered place cards? Why didn’t I buy cloth napkins? Should I have a mini bouquet at each place setting? Or maybe brownies baked inside dyed egg shells? Is this enough?” 

Of course it turned out to be enough. We dug into the spinach dip, moved the flowers so conversation could flow, and later settled onto the couch for a leisurely coffee & cobbler.

But I’ll admit, sometimes the state of our home makes me hesitate to invite people over, especially people I don’t know well. I worry that I won’t have time to vacuum up all the day’s Cheerios, that blocks and animal magnets will find their way into the clean spaces. In short, that our home might look like toddlers live here.

Because I’m not a crazy clean person or a super creative decorator, it’s going to look like a regular old home with toddlers for this season. So far no one has refused to come back because of that, and I’m trying to embrace a balance between making my best hospitable effort and accepting the way our particular home really looks.

I do have friends whose homes always look beautiful when I’m there. (Will you come decorate & teach me your ways?) Others sometimes have mail on the table, toys on the coffee table, and other signs of home life. And you know what? If I notice, it makes me feel normal. To tell the truth, I sometimes feel more comfortable at someone else’s house if looks lived in. It makes me feel like I’m being folded into home life, like family, instead of being treated to the Sunday version like a stranger.

I want our home to feel welcoming and real, not chaotic but not too perfect, either. Welcome over– this is home sweet home.


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