Happy Friday and welcome again, the the Wild & Feminine Midwest.
This week I began a Twitter account, and one of my first tweets did pretty well! I thought it deserved an entire blog post. Read it below..
Growing up, my mom would host dinner parties, Murder Mysteries, and birthday parties, all at home. She would make appetizers, set out the Fine China, play some Vivaldi, and light the candles. Honestly, the best restaurant in town was my mom's dining room.
Likewise, now that I have my own dining room and kitchen, I find myself being drawn to eating at home, and opening up our space to be hospitable to others. It has improved my life, my relationships, and so much more.
Read below my 8 reasons why hosting at home is beneficial to your life!
1. Hosting at home is intimate
When you are able to host in your own home, you are inviting others into an intimate space in your life. They are welcome to view the photos you hang up, the way you style your living room, and the type of flavors you like to cook. They are experiencing YOU.
I remember when I would get to go to a friend's house for the first time in elementary school. It felt like I was seeing them as a different person, just because I saw their house! That phenomenon does not end in adulthood. Learn to be open with people: host at home, and allow them to experience you.
2. Hosting at home forces you to clean
Have you ever heard someone say "Oh we'd love to have you over, but our house is a mess!" I have. I think most people feel uncomfortable when their messes are exposed to others.
Following this train of thought, I have found that hosting others naturally brings out my desire to do more "house hygiene." I would not go out to see my friends looking sloppy and unkempt, and in the same way, I do not let my house look sloppy and unkempt when others are around. A small level of natural vanity often motivates us to maintain a clean and tidy exterior. Hey, whatever works right?
3. Hosting at home is cheaper
I have found that going out to a restaurant, ESPECIALLY if the food is underwhelming, can feel like the most disappointing thing. I think it has to do with investing our money in the experience.
If you add up the gas or Uber, $6.00 drinks, $22 entree's, server tips, sometimes a second drink, or a shared appetizer, AND parking, you are looking at a hefty sum. Even if you share a pizza with friends, you are often still paying for more money.
When we host at home, I can make a batch meal, a loaf of bread, a salad, and a dessert for the fraction of what it would cost my husband and I to both get meals at a restaurant, even without drinks. We usually request our guests bring a bottle of wine or whatever they like to drink, and we end up ALL saving money.
4. Hosting at home is the virtue of hospitality
I talk a lot on my blog about growing into a virtuous "woman of character." This is a lifelong journey that is accomplished through various experiences, challenges, and determinations. Learning how to host others and dutifully and graciously SERVE them builds your virtue.
Opening up your home, serving others, cooking for them, and exploring new conversation topics in the comfort of candlelight is an extremely ancient practice. Live into the wisdom of our ancestors and grow in hospitality. For Christian people, hospitality is a command that we are to follow in order to meet and fellowship with other believers. Allow the virtue of hospitality to shape your home and your life.
5. Hosting at home allows you to grow new skills
I think many modern people are allergic to work at home: chores, cooking, and cleaning are all a burden. Now I don't blame this entirely on a lack of character: I do think that modern work can be exhausting, especially when both parties in a couple are performing a 40 hour work week: who is supposed to make lasagna after an exhausting work week?
BUT, if you are inclined, I do think that hosting at home, even if you are busy, is worth it because it allows you to grow valuable skills. There is something about new friends trying a dish that drives me to make sure it is excellent. I love to cook up special foods, or tried-and-true favorites for my guests. Even if I don't always nail it, my guests are happy to feel like I did something special for them, and at the end of the day, I have often gotten good practice in the art of cooking, serving, and conversation.
6. Hosting at home allows for deeper conversation
I think it's really growing for people to have to sit in a room and just TALK without loud music blasting, interruptions from a server, or strangers watching you. Some of my favorite evenings with friends have been spent on a back porch holding a beer, or playing a board game in our basement.
Furthermore, the art of conversation, which I have spoken on before, is not a skill anyone is born with: we must hone it our whole life! Let your living room be your classroom: learn to ask questions, learn the memory skills necessary to keep track of your friends lives, and learn how to tell a STORY (my husband is good at that part: I should ask him for tips.)
7. Hosting at home brings blessings
Blessings to YOU and blessings to others! Yes! I truly believe that you cannot live a more satisfying life than a life lived in the service and for the blessing of others. We should all seek to help and bless others, as much as it depends on us.
Every time we've hosted people for dinner, they leave saying how warm, happy, and thankful they are that they were able to spend the evening with us. Especially if we've had our fireplace crackling, it has been absolutely refreshing for everyone to just sip wine, and enjoy the crazy stories my husband tells, or the funny anecdotes and thoughts our guests have to share. I don't always have the tastiest food or the best jokes, but at the end of the night, especially if our guests stayed for an extended amount of time, I always feel blessed.
8. Hosting at home restores the "Line of Luxury"
The Line of Luxury is important to living a fulfilled and balanced life. I believe that there must be a "line" or distinction between everyday activities, and special occasions. I've noticed that special occasion activities are becoming more and more extreme: this may be because our "typical" social activities are already so luxurious. Since when did we need to have a mimosa filled brunch EVERY Sunday!?
If you go out to eat every weekend, you'll find that a "birthday dinner" won't cut it anymore: it will just feel like any other day. This is why we're seeing insane crop-ups of bachelorette parties to Mexico or birthday extravaganzas to Nashville. I think it could be positive for us all to relax a bit on the experiential living, and focus on smaller experiences right in front of us. I'm not saying you shouldn't take vacations or go to concerts, but be mindful about the "luxury" in life. Is it everyday? Why not save some for a special occasion?
So there you have it! I will post another blog about HOW to host at home, not just WHY. But in the meantime, pop a bottle of wine, invite a couple over, and slice up some cheese and meat. Everyone will feel loved, and YOU will feel capable, skilled, and blessed.