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Keep the Celebration Simple



A duck on water. On top, it appears to glide gracefully over the pond, but underneath you see webbed feet paddling energetically towards its destination. Being a gracious hostess should look like our feathered friends. This is our goal, but it is unrealistic to say we will not stress over our parties. One reason I love to entertain at home is I can slip away to my bedroom for 2 minutes, take a deep breath, and then face the chaos once more with renewed energy.


Why should our goal be to have our guests see a calm hostess? Because how we act is how our guests will feel. If we are stressed, they become stressed. If we are locked in the kitchen all evening, they will feel they have become a burden. Or they will feel it is their duty to assist in the kitchen (which can sometimes cause more stress).


Etiquette (our social skills) is the language we use to speak our manners. The social skills we display when hosting a party should have one goal in mind: treat our guests like we want to be treated. Parties are about showing hospitality, they are not about how we entertain. If gatherings in your home are causing undue stress, then step back and ask why. Is it because you are trying to compete with the perfect parties you see on social media? Maybe your menu is too extensive, or too difficult to execute. When I entertain, I rarely decorate any part of my home except the table (Christmas being the exception!). Why? Because life really is all about the table! It is difficult to decorate an entire house unless done to the extreme. I focus my effort where the food will be, whether this is a buffet, sit-down dinner, or both. I place a few floral arrangements in strategic areas where I know guests will wander, and I hang some type of front door greeting, usually in the form of a wreath. That is all I do.


I learned years ago my desire to go overboard in my party themes was causing me to stop entertaining. I was too overwhelmed. So, I took it back to the basics: KISS (keep it simple, silly). A clean house, a clean bathroom, a decorated table, and a few floral arrangements. That is all that is needed.


Figure out what is causing your stress and then simplify. Yes, we want to give our best, but if entertaining causes anxiety to the point we stop entertaining, then we are missing the point. Opening our home to friends, family and strangers should be our goal, and if the only way we are comfortable doing this is with paper plates and take-out from the local restaurant, then go for it!


Change your focus to WHY you are entertaining and stop obsessing over HOW you are entertaining. We host parties to give love to those around us. Showing true hospitality can only happen when our guests are more important to us than creating our version of the perfect soiree.


I believe life is meant to be enjoyed. But remember these moments begin at home, with your family. Keep the table at the center of all you do, and practice hospitality through frequent family meals. The table is the most important piece of furniture in a home. It is where families come together. It is the anchor where we meet after a long day. It is a connection point where we laugh, cry, argue, debate, pay bills, do homework, and solve life’s problems. Always remember hospitality is more important than entertaining, and remember the simplicity of each day is meant to be celebrated.


Together with you,

Lisa Lou

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