Please welcome my friend Kimba of A Soft Place to Land (I can really call her a friend now, since I hung out with her at Blissdom! She is as delightful in person as she is on her blog!)! Enjoy her tips for Easy Entertaining!
Do you love to entertain in your home or does it make you crazy as you try to pull everything together for the perfect party? Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle like me. I love the idea of entertaining and I want to share my home with family and friends but sometimes I resist because it’s too much work or I don’t think I have the time.
There was a time when I used pull my hair out every time I tried to host something at my home. I felt like I had to have everything perfectly spotless and tidy. And I would make myself crazy by preparing complicated (and expensive) dishes.
I believe that there is tremendous value in building relationships by sharing our homes. So let me share a couple of tips and ideas that will make entertaining a little easier and more enjoyable.
Your guests aren’t coming to see your perfect home. They’re coming to see you. Pick up the big messes (and hide them in the dryer if you have to) and move on. Your guests will not care if your kids have their toys out or you have a bunch of craft supplies on the dining room table. If they even notice, they’ll probably feel a little better about their own messes. Think of it as a public service. Pick up the big messes and move on.
Not to the nut-house. To a time and a place. Pick a time that works for your family and make a commitment. Invite over those neighbors that you’ve been wanting to know better. Call those old friends who you don’t see often enough. Put it on your calendar so that you’re committed.
Some of my favorite gatherings have been the ones thrown together on Friday afternoon for Friday night. Suddenly realize you have no plans for the evening? Call up some good friends for a movie night with popcorn and ice cream. Tell them to bring the kids in their jammies and throw a bunch of pillows on the floor.
Try Something Different
Here are a couple of ideas that I love for entertaining without losing your mind (or blowing your budget).
Dessert only – Who says that every event has to include a formal meal? Why not invite over a few neighbors for dessert and coffee (or wine if that’s your thing)? I won’t tell if your cheesecake comes from Costo. Or maybe set up an ice cream bar with a couple of syrups and lots of toppings. Everyone can help themselves and all you have to do is wash some bowls and spoons when it’s over.
Keep it simple – One of my favorite ways to entertain with a meal is to make a big salad, order pizza and have a fun dessert. Everyone loves it and it’s low (or no) stress for me. For dessert I’ll make a fantastic chocolate fondue with fruit, cookies and pretzels or we’ll light a fire and make s’mores. The kids all love it and no one even notices that I did very little work to get ready.
Let them help – Along those same lines, there’s nothing wrong with letting your guest help out from time-to-time. Around these parts, we call it pot-luck. The host provides a main dish and the guest bring the sides. During the summer, I love to have a hot-dog bar. I get the good hotdogs and buns and provide a table of traditional toppings along with chili (canned), cheese and sauerkraut. It’s easy and it doesn’t blow the budget.
There’s something that happens when you invite people into your home. You can’t help but get to know them a little better. Connections are made and relationships are formed.
What’s your favorite way to entertain?
All photos: Martha Stewart