One of the things we Southerners are known for is our hospitality. And it really is true that many Southern folks are very hospitable. Most of us truly enjoy having company, eating together, or just visiting. Of course hospitality is definitely not limited to those of us who live in the South, though. Anyone can extend hospitality to friends and neighbors, and it doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming to be fun!
For years, I thought it was too much trouble to have people over. I thought the whole house had to be perfectly clean, the children had to be all tidy and presentable, I had to have wonderful food prepared, and, in short, that everything needed to be absolutely perfect. Needless to say, that attitude took all of the joy out of having company.
Over the years, though, I’ve learned to just have fun entertaining. I’ve given up trying to make everything perfect and realized that that’s just not necessary. Sure, it’s nice for the house to be decent. It’s good to have a yummy meal or some tasty snacks to share. Those things, however, should be secondary to the conversation and the chance to visit and just have fun being together.
Here are a few tips that might be helpful if you’d like to entertain more in your home but you don’t have a lot of time or money to put into it.
- It’s perfectly fine to allow your guests to bring a pot luck dish, dessert, or snack. This is especially true if you’re having a large group over and it would be expensive for you to provide all of the food. Most guests don’t mind helping out by bringing something, and they understand that food can be expensive!
- It’s fine to serve simple things like sandwiches or salads to your company. It’s just not necessary to have an elaborate meal that costs a lot. It’s also fine to just have a few snacks available too. If you’re going to just have snacks, though, make sure your company knows that. You don’t want them to come over expecting a meal if you won’t be serving one.
- You can simply say something like, “I’d love for you to come around 7:00. I’ll have snacks and drinks available.”
- Don’t worry that your house has to be completely clean and spotless! I just try to do the “basics” when I’m going to have company. I make sure the kitchen is clean, there’s not lots of clutter lying around everywhere, and that the floor is swept or vacuumed. I don’t try to dust the entire house, wash the baseboards, get all of the laundry done, and other jobs like that. If there’s a bit of dust on the furniture, I don’t sweat it. I do usually give the bathrooms a quick cleaning, but even those need not be perfectly spotless. I mainly just try to make sure the house looks generally clean so my guests won’t worry if the food is safe to eat! Other than that, I figure the folks are here to visit with us, not inspect my house.
- If you just don’t have time to clean the house and the weather is nice, entertain outside! Here in the South the weather is warm most of the year. It’s fun to eat and visit outside sometimes.
- Plan simple games and activities for the kids and adults if you’re afraid you won’t be able to keep the conversation going. Sometimes we like to have board games or party games available. During the summer, we may meet at the beach or someone’s pool. We also discovered a fun outdoor game that’s easy enough for children or adults but is lots of fun! It’s called Murbles. You can check it out here: Or you can have “interactive” food. Let kids and adults roast marshmallows or hot dogs, make ice cream sundaes, decorate their own cookies, etc. That gives you something to talk about and provides a fun activity for everyone.
I hope that, if you’ve been hesitant to entertain in your home, these tips will help you. We’ve found that it’s definitely worth a bit of extra trouble to have people over, so try to relax and have a good time! Don’t let your worries about not having a perfect house or not being able to feed a crowd keep you from having company.
If you have any tips you’d like to share, I’d love for you to comment and tell me! Do you have a favorite activity to share? A favorite recipe? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you.
Wendy lives in the South with her wonderful hubby and 3 great kiddos! She is a Christian, homeschooling, work-from-home mom. She and Scott were high school sweethearts and have been married for more than 20 years. Her oldest child has autism, and Wendy began homeschooling her at age 2. Her son, a typical boy, would rather do anything than school! Her youngest child is a little social butterfly and people lover. Wendy loves reading and quilting and will hopefully return to scrapbooking sometime soon. She blogs at Homeschooling Blessings and at Hip Homeschool Moms where she is co-owner and social media director.