Other posts I’ve written on hospitality, while containing some practical suggestions, they were mostly focused on the biblical framework behind hospitality. This post is entirely practical.
One of the biggest things we’ve learned over the years is to prepare in advance and always be prepared. I say this because if you are always prepared, you can be hospitable on the spur of the moment whether it’s making a meal for someone the same day you’re asked or spontaneously inviting a new family over after church. So here goes:
1. We keep stocked on hand food and drinks we know most of our guests like. I never know when I might have company so I always have cans of soda on hand. (I never drink Coke but always keep it some in the fridge.) I also try to keep non-caffeinated drinks on hand as well like Sprite or Gatorade. Juice boxes for little kids are always nice to have handy if you have children visiting.
2. Having kid friendly snacks in the pantry for the same reason above is good too. Even just a bag of pretzels will do.
3. I always have paper plates, cups, napkins and plasticware in my pantry.
4. If we are having a large group gathering (like more than 8 people–a small group bible study for example) we bring out extra trash cans and place them near where people are seated. I also put extra trash bags at the bottom for easy replacement when trash is taken out. I actually have 2 or 3 extra trash cans that I store in the garage.
5. We are usually short on seating so we keep folding chairs in the garage that we bring out for company. We keep extra folding tables on our back porch. If storage space is a concern, square folding tables fitting perfectly under a bed.
6. I have the boys put important toys up high or away completely before other kids come over. These are either favorite toys or one’s they are concerned might get broken (like a Lego masterpiece). I remind them about sharing and we practice dealing with conflict over toys.
7. I also like to keep some craft supplies at the ready for when we have kids over and they are bored.
I have a few stand by recipes that I use all the time. One is a main dish I use for bringing a meal to a new mom or someone sick.
4-6 Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 cup Catalina or French dressing
Sprinkle soup mix on top of chicken, mix cranberry sauce and spoon over chicken, lastly pour dressing on top. Cook covered at 400 for 30min. Remove cover and cook another 15 min at 350. Serve with wild rice.
I always like to have a few things in my pantry that can be turned into a quick snack, appetizer or dessert for last-minute guests. Sometimes you can find chex mix, chips or some other snack buy one get one free at the store. Chips and salsa are also an easy item to keep on hand. Here’s a favorite:
2 boxes of your favorite brownie mix
1 bag Andes mints chocolates
Mix 1 brownie mix according to directions. Pour into prepared baking (9 x 13 or similar size) dish. Unwrap chocolates and lay them on top of brownies. Mix the second box of brownie mix and pour on top. Bake according to directions.
Happy Hosting! And lastly, always be mentally prepared for a mess!
“If you are afraid of hospitality – that you don’t have much personal strength or personal wealth – good. Then you won’t intimidate anybody. You will depend all the more on God’s grace. You will look all the more to the work of Christ and not your own work. And what a blessing people will get in your simple home or little apartment.” John Piper