In a follow up post to my post about me loving being a hostess, I thought I would write down and share some of my tips that I use on how to be a better hostess. Now, mind you, I am no Martha Stewart, but her parties would probably seem a bit stuffy to me anyway, so it's probably a good thing!
1. Your house doesn't have to be perfect for people to like being there.
In every place I've ever lived, people have told me they've felt at home there. My decor wasn't perfect, at times the house or apartment was small, but I've always said that the atmosphere you create matters more than how your house looks. I don't mean not to clean and not to care about how your house looks. But no one is going to notice if your living room isn't perfectly styled and decorated. No one cares if your kitchen table makeover hasn't happened yet. Don't wait for your house to be exactly how you want it to be to have people over! What's awesome is that people can actually start noticing where your house started in the beginning and how your decor style has changed over the years, but they have to be in your house in the first place to see the evolution of your home.
2. Don't be afraid to move things around to accomodate!
My furniture moves constantly. In fact, there are times I've moved things around for a gathering and left it because it's looked better! Your furniture is not glued to your floor. If you have a small living room, don't be afraid to move the furniture up against the wall to create a flow of traffic and space for people to stand and chat.
3. Create an environment for people to to be able to talk to each other comfortably.
Arrange the seating so people can see each other. Put extra chairs in the room so everyone can talk with each other at the same time. You don't want people portioned off - you want a party where everyone can talk to each other, especially people who don't know each other all that well.
4. Make sure as the hostess, you speak with everyone, as much as you can, that made time to come to your home.
If I don't know someone, introduce yourself! I am a people person by nature, so I like getting to know people I don't know. I am surprised, though, when I go to someone's house that I don't know that well, and they spend all of their time talking to people they already know. If I have invited someone, I need to spend time getting to know them!
5. Make your home an "open book" and expect that it will be.
I generally gravitate towards the notion that there aren't areas of my home that won't be peeked in to when people are there. Cabinets, closets, etc, these are still places people could look. So I make sure to expect that and straighten and clean them up. I also have a home that is pretty unique, so people enjoy seeing the bedrooms and other rooms, so I have no problem taking people on tours so people can see where I live.
6. Put away anything that you don't want broken, especially if you have kids coming over!
When kids come to my house, it's just a given that they will pick just about anything up, throw it down, or whatever. At my house, kids are just allowed to roam free and play with whatever, I mean, within reason. Since I am not going to be watching them every minute, I always put up anything that we don't want to lose or break. Even in the kids' room, we tell them to put up anything that they don't want other kids playing with, to avoid having crying fits or things happen later. For Jordan, this might mean something he's made out of legos that is important to him. For Avery, it might mean her princesses and her princess castle. For us, it might mean breakable items that we put away. You don't want to be a nervous wreck when people are at your house and you don't want to make people feel bad the whole time they are there, so just remove the items that make you nervous. Not only that, but put away things that could make a mess on walls or carpet, like crayons, Play-Dough, stamps, or markers.
7. People like food (go figure).
You don't need to have professional-grade cuisine, but you do need to have food, and enough of it! I have several go-by food choices that I can always make at my house, so it's nice to have things you know how to make that feed alot of people. Or, if you are having quite a few, you can always do a
pot-luck style meal, so you don't need to cook and prepare for lots of people. I love inviting people over to my house for meals and I love cooking for people. I am not the best cook, but I try!
I hope these helped! The important thing to remember is that people don't care if you are the best cook or your house is perfect. They just love to be with you! Or, as we Baptists call it, "fellowship" with you!