Preparing for holiday guests can be so much fun and yet totally exhausting all at the same time.
Most of us spend hours scrubbing the house spotless, planning a perfectly well-balanced menu, and making sure there are fresh towels in the linen closet.
It’s a beautiful gift to host but it can also feel like a bit of a whirlwind.
Then as your guests pull out of the driveway it’s like a slow exhale.
You’re sad to see them go because you’ve had such a great visit.
But you also know you’ll have to walk back inside, clean the house all over again, and get ready for the workweek.
The Gift Of Hospitality…
I think about holiday entertaining a lot given my parent’s home, Bliss Barracks, is a revolving door of guests dropping by for a visit.
The thing that always amazes me is that my Mom rarely seems to get rattled in the midst of the craziness.
I truly believe it’s because she’s been given a heart for hospitality and her expectations are always realistic.
She knows someone will probably spill a drink on the Turkish rug my dad had shipped over while he was deployed.
She understands someone may unexpectedly require a specialty item and she’ll have to make an extra trip to the store before the sun comes up.
My Mom also understands there is going to be a mountain of laundry.
Especially if all of the bedrooms upstairs are being used.
Even still, she continues to make every person feel welcome because she’s happy to have them in her home.
Preparing for Holiday Guests While Managing Expectations…
It’s the lessons of realistic expectations and a heart for hospitality that have been instilled in us over the years that make preparing for holiday guests seem as normal as having green eyes.
If you’re looking around your house right now thinking, “That’s awesome for you, CoCo, but my house is not _________________ (feel free to fill in the blank with whatever you’re thinking right now)…
- instagram worthy
- big enough
- clean enough
- in a great neighborhood
- ready at all
- like what I see in magazines
- really my style
…let me assure you I can completely relate.
I’ve had some of those same thoughts too.
When I first started blogging, this was my breakfast nook.
Believe me, it didn’t feel Pinterest-worthy at all either.
But one day we had a workday at my sister’s first fixer-upper and it completely changed my mind about what truly makes a house a home.
Making Memories Despite the Imperfections…
Several years ago, my baby sister bought a house we lovingly called Hawk’s Ridge.
It was a fixer-upper.
As a gift, our pod decided to have a work day to help her put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, pull up old carpet, and take down broken door trim.
I was dressed in long sleeves, overalls, and work boots.
And since I’m giving you a visual, I had bits of cotton in my ears, chemistry experiment-style safety glasses, a respirator, and a knit cap to protect my wild curls from “flying debris.”
Basically, it would have been easier to wear a hazmat suit.
But I was all in.
By midday, we had piled up on her screened porch waiting for lunch to be delivered.
We were super gross, smelly, and totally exhausted.
But I come from a competitive family and even in the midst of total exhaustion, we decided to have a “biggest arm muscle” contest.
I have no idea why because some of us had “muscles” the size of shallots.
But the belly laughter that ensued with our pod sitting on the small front porch dirty and sweaty from giving our best gifts to my sister while eating sandwiches from parchment paper and drinking sweet tea is a memory I’ll never forget.
Had my sister waited until her home was “perfect” or “finished” or “good enough” we would have missed out on all that fun!
Preparing Your Heart and Home for Guests This Holiday Season…
As we prepare our home for holiday guests, be it overnight guests, a gathering of your besties for drinks, or hosting a feast for hundreds, I hope we can spend more time thinking about how to make them feel loved, welcomed, appreciated, and nurtured.
Instead of thinking about matching dishes and whether or not the wreaths on our front door are “insta worthy.”
Our best gifts are enough.
Our homes are enough.
We are enough.
Are we going to make our homes as cozy as we can possibly make them?
We might even light a fire in the fireplace and pop popcorn!
We might even walk the neighborhood, look at Christmas lights, and sip on apple cider.
After all, making memories is one of the best parts of the holidays.
But we are not going to obsess about the hair that may or may not fall while the dogs are walking from the living room to the front door.
Or the napkin that is a slightly different shade of blush than our china.
Nor how “bulky” we may or may not look in the sweater we grabbed at the last minute on our way to the checkout line because we are enough and our homes are enough.
You with me?
Cheering you on as you take the pressure off and choose grace, not perfection this holiday season.
Other Holiday Favorites to Enjoy:Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.