It’s a New Year! Did you do anything fun for New Year’s Eve? We stayed home, celebrated with fancy glasses, sparkling grape juice and an early midnight. We played, relaxed and enjoyed some great snacks.
But if you like entertaining, hosting gatherings and planning parties, have you thought about jotting down some goals for this area of life?
There is the practical side of entertaining . . . the logistical side. We will talk through that and common hindrances in entertaining. But we will also look at the heart of welcoming guests into our home. Because to me, it is impossible to separate the hospitality aspect from entertaining.
When I have guests over, I want them to be comfortable, at ease, have a meaningful time and hopefully a lot of fun as well. Placing value on your guests and their time in your home is at the heart of hospitality. This molds the way I plan a party or gathering in my home.
Below you will find a set of questions to spur on thoughts for setting your own entertaining goals. If you’d like a printable copy, you can grab it at the bottom of this post. It has plenty of space to write down notes and thoughts.
Help for Developing Your Entertaining Goals
(Both practical and hospitality-minded.)
How many times a month or year do you usually open your home? _____
Do you want to host gatherings in your home more often? Is entertaining something you would like to do with regular frequency? _____
What keeps you from entertaining?
□ The Work of Cleaning
□ Struggles with Cooking/Food
□ Other: _________
What could make a difference with this? (See ideas below.)
If Cleaning: When you have an event on the calendar, can you plan on doing a little each day for a week before your party to avoid the craziness of cleaning the whole house the day of the event? If you are planning on entertaining more regularly, can you implement a cleaning routine to accomplish your work in a little time each day so that nothing gets out of control?
If Cooking/Food: Work on finding a couple recipes that can become your go-to meals that are family (and guest) favorites. Ask friends and be sure to try recipes in advance.
If Time: Have someone clean for you or pay your kids to do extra chores. Buy pre-made food or ask guests to bring a dish (but only if you haven’t already asked them to bring a gift.) Simplify your menu. You don’t need three different desserts. Choose just one.
If Money: Become good at coupon shopping or scouting out the grocery deals. Try freezer cooking to help save money and time. Keep menus simple or like above, ask guests to bring a dish to pass.
Who would you like to invite over? Is there a family you would like to get to know better, a group of friends or a club/team you to which you belong? List those you would like to include in this year’s gatherings. __________________________________________________________________
What do you enjoy most about entertaining?
Do you enjoy entertaining more at a particular time of year (seasonal, holidays, outdoor entertaining)?
Is there a particular holiday (even the silly ones) that you would like to expand into a party? We hosted a Pi Day Party on March 14 (as in 3.14) last year. It was simply an excuse to get a group of friends together and eat pie.
Our friends who host the annual Cider Party are already planning a Back to the Future Party on October 25th (the day Marty McFly goes back to the future). Isn’t that fun?
Once for my Father-in-Law’s birthday, we hosted a “Drowning in Milk” party and all desserts were perfect accompaniments to a glass (or bowl) of milk. Let’s just say that I married into a family not of dunkers, but put-your-dessert-in-a-bowl-and-drown-it-in-milk kind of people. So we made it into a party!
Make a big deal out of something silly. What would your friends and family have fun with?
On the practical side, what would make entertaining easier? Do you need to save up for more dishes, tables or chairs? (See this post on creative seating if space is a problem for you.) Do you need a beverage dispenser or set of serving utensils and dishes?
Over the years, I have been building up my supply of white serving dishes and pedestal cake plates. Food looks gorgeous on white!
Is there an item you’d like to purchase in the next year for your parties?
What stresses you most about entertaining?
How can you lessen this stress?
Do you need to start your preparations earlier so you have more time? Have you thought about taking a cooking class, locally or through Craftsy (affiliate link) to learn a particular skill or great recipe? Maybe you need to abandon your do-it-alone mentality.
What makes you most comfortable when at someone else’s house for a gathering?
How can you focus more on hospitality when you entertain?
Other Thoughts on Your Entertaining:
What is something you want to focus on this year in your entertaining?