The Heart of Hospitality

Hospitality-1Opening our homes to others is not just sharing a meal, it’s sharing our time. It’s not taking care of all the many small details and frantically trying to make everything “perfect”.

When many of us imagine having company in our home, we immediately begin to hyperventilate and break out in a cold sweat.

For some reason, entertaining is becoming a lost art. I think it’s because of the false fears that many of us associate with it.

What is entertaining all about anyway?

What are some things that cause us to hesitate when it comes to inviting others to share our home?

I think many of us have a false perception and high expectations when it comes to entertaining. We think that our house needs to be perfectly clean, beautifully styled, with an elaborate table setting, and a five course meal that will cost whole weeks worth of food that you usually feed your family and so on and so forth. Not only do we worry about all these external, physical aspects of entertaining, but we worry that it might be awkward – “what will we talk about?” “what if they don’t like us?”, “what if they don’t like the food?”, etc.

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When you invite someone into your home, it’s about sharing yourself.

It may not always be convenient, easy or stress-free, but it’s always worth it. (Most of the time. There are always exceptions.) It’s so rewarding to be able to connect with others, build stronger relationships and share happy moments.

The heart of hospitality begins with you. What is your motive? What would you like to accomplish? Remember, the most important thing is not how impressed your guests will feel but how welcomed and cared for they felt when they spent time in your home.

Offer yourself to others. It may be a risk and require effort, but you will be rewarded.

Above all, be yourself.

Don’t compare yourself to others or to the ideal image that you have created in your head.

People are not coming to criticize your table décor, the way your home looks or how gourmet your food is.

Cooking dinner

Cooking dinner

Provide your heartfelt, joyful offerings. Serve your favorite casserole and pull up some extra chairs to the table.

We have shared many meals at our small, second hand table for four that we have managed to squeeze up to ten people around and built many memories and great relationships.

Roast Chicken and Rice Pilaf-1Entertaining is not as expensive as it seems either. You can serve a wonderful, delicious meal for less than $50 that feeds more than 40. Incredible, but true. And I’m not talking about pasta and hot dogs:).

Be yourself. If you are talented in domestic arts and LOVE cooking and making flower arrangements, treat your guests. Give them the gift of yourself.

My sister, Elina, is a cupcake genius.

My sister, Elina, is a cupcake genius.

If comes naturally to you and it doesn’t strangle and stifle you, enjoy it.

Just because you are afraid that others will think that you are “showing off”, doesn’t mean that you should smother your creativity. It’s all about your attitude, your graciousness and the care that your pour into your guests.

Hospitality is an extension of yourself and an investment in relationships.

What are your favorite ways to entertain? how do you feel about sharing your home with others?

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Comments

  1. nadia says

    Well said, its funny how with each generation we forget how be ourself and enjoy company. We try so hard to better or at least measure up to every one else that we forget the important thing .(let’s remember Mary and Martha from the bible )

  2. Andrey says

    I got to mention this, you guys definitely stay true to the words you write. Thanks for the hospitality! Oh, and, preach it girl :)

    -Andrey

  3. says

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I’m inspired to entertain more often. Thanks for bringing it down to reality. I am intimidated to entertain for all the reasons you mentioned above, but I’ve never regretted when I do entertain and it always works out great. Your post also reminds me of the bible story of Mary and Martha. Luke 10:41-42 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” That example can totally be applied to hospitality. She should have been enjoying the teaching of her guest, Jesus, but instead she was worried about what she was cooking. Thanks for posting this!

    • says

      You are totally right. I tend to be the Martha, worrying about every little detail instead of enjoying my guest. Although taking care of the mechanincal parts of entertaining has its place, taking care of the atmosphere and making our guest feel cared for is so much more important.

  4. karina says

    Well said! I tend to worry about every little detail myself and for that reason, instead of enjoying my guests I feel stressed out! I need to relax for sure!

    • says

      Hi Tatiana,
      That was a while ago, so I might not get it completely right, but from looking at the picture, here’s what I think it was:
      Salmon Kulebyaka
      Mini Stuffed Peppers
      Deviled Eggs with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms
      Koreiskaya Morkovka
      Tart Shells With Crab (my sister in law made those, so I’m not completely sure what went in them, although they were delicious)
      Crunchy Cabbage Cucumber Salad
      (This was actually my Mom’s birthday and she and my Dad happened to be visiting Florida at the time. We also had Ricotta Cheesecake with Strawberries and glaze for dessert. Probably something else too, but I can’t remember what it was.)

  5. Nat says

    Hey Olga. can you please write more about that topic? :)))
    When I was younger, and not married, I knew I had my mom with me to help me, or me helping my mom with dinners when guests come, or when just my friends come for tea. Now I think I am so hesitant to invite new people to our house, thinking Oh they would probably do dinners better than I do, what if they dont eat, or will not want to eat what i put on the table. So , now if somebody ever comes, I rely on my hubby a lot, he is a great cook. I am always so so nervous, when it comes to serving others. ( I look at my guests and if they dont want to eat, there is that thought that the dish probably does not look good to them, or if they tried and left it unfinished ,it is even worse- makes me even more nervous) Especially where I moved, I don’t have close friends, just acquaintances, that makes it even more difficult. So, I think that is why, we have less and less people come over. And it was not like that before, I always invited people to my house, we always had full house of youth.:)

    • says

      This is one of my favorite subjects, so I will try to write more in the future.
      I completely agree with you, that hospitality isn’t easy.
      I think the trio is to be more relaxed about it and not take it too seriously.
      I know that whenever I go to someone’s home, I don’t care what they are serving, take out pizza or a home cooked meal, whether it’s as simple as a bowl of soup or a gourmet 5 course meal. I’m so thankful that people want to spend time with me and have opened up their home to me. I think most people are like that too. Try to make dishes that you are really comfortable with. You won’t stress out as much, because you know what you are doing, and it will probably taste really great too, since you have a lot of practice with it.
      I think it’s awesome that you want to be hospitable! That’s a great start!

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