Be sure to check out the other 5-Days series running this week. You’ll find everything from organizing your homeschool to making your own cleaners!
- Organize Your Attitude
- Organize the People
- Organize the Food
- Organize Your Preparations
- Organize Your Evening
Day 5: Organize Your Time Together for Hospitality
To help the evening flow more smoothly, think beforehand about a few key factors. Don’t set some sort of rigid agenda, but rather have some options in mind and keep an idea of a flow for the evening in the back of your mind. However, hold that plan loosely and be willing to take your cues from your guests and other members of the family.
First, have glasses and beverages ready to go when your guests arrive or pull them out first thing. As soon as you’ve welcomed people in, ask them if you can get them anything to drink and list the options. Or, just ask them if they’d like a glass of water if that is what you are serving. Even if it’s water, people will feel more welcomed and relax with a beverage in hand.
It might seem pretentious at first, and that is not what we are about, but give thought to where people should sit around the dinner table. When you host families, it is important to think about putting older children near each other – perhaps at the other end of the table from the adults – so they can have conversation, putting small children near their parents, and ensuring the adults are near enough to actually have conversation without shouting over a bunch of little heads. It’s a trick sometimes, and bears forethought. Even if your table is only adults, it is more comfortable for the guests to be directed to where to sit than to be told, “Oh, it doesn’t matter, just sit anywhere.” Then they have to navigate sitting next to their spouse while leaving the right number of chairs for others to do the same, watch that they aren’t taking a place another is eying, and wonder if they are taking the hostess’ preferred spot. It seems a bit silly, but just pointing guests to a place prepared for them reduces stress and makes them feel more welcomed and thought of.
What other ways do you prepare for guests to put them at their ease?
5 Days of Cleaning and Organizing
If it is the food-stress that prevents you from relaxed hospitality, take a look at Simplified Dinners. It outlines how to get dinner on the table with minimal planning and prep time, using only the whole-foods ingredients found on my master pantry list. There’s even a gluten- and dairy-free version that is perfect for the conventional cook who only occasionally prepares gluten- and dairy-free meals for others, because you can make many complete meals (including dessert) without buying specialty health-food-store-only ingredients.
Simplify your back to school dinner routine with Simplified Dinners!