Bread & Wine :: a love letter to feeding the people you love
Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table :: food memoir at its bestDisclaimer: compensated affiliate links may be used in this post
In setting aside our need for a styled table and perfectly orchestrated dinner party, we let in some freedom. The freedom of opening our hearts and our homes to bless people we love with our presence. The freedom of knowing and being known. Our time around the table can be a second to pause and see the meal for what it is: an opportunity–not for show, but for service.
Every year, I try to plan ahead for the holiday entertaining season. I dream of a home without dirty floors, nothing out of place, and unhurried smiles on every occupant. Every year, I am surprised by my own busyness and hurried demeanor.
I grew up watching my mother entertain hosts of guests: relatives from out of town, employees from my father’s company, and friends from school and our community. Through her, I learned that, even amidst sticky fingerprints and chaotic meltdowns from any of the four children she had in five years, there are a few tricks to making your house look warm and inviting on a dime.
1. Candles. For some reason, lighting candles always adds that thing that every room needs. Candles immediately make a room smell good, feel cozy, and gives guests the impression that they are welcome here. My mom used to keep the candles out of our reach and light them five minutes before our company arrived. They always seemed to cast a tranquil glow on the atmosphere of the house.
2. Beverages. One of the first questions my mother asks when a guests arrive is: “Would you like a cup of tea?” She blames this on her British roots, but the effect is immediate and obvious. I read somewhere that people are much more likely to have a good first impression of someone when they have a hot beverage in their hands. True or not, there is something to be said for being offered a hot drink on a chilly winter night.
3. Lighting. Bright, florescent lights do very little to promote an atmosphere of hospitality and intimacy. I’ve found that lamps and fairy lights work wonders on transforming a space.
4. Music. My mom loves to put some soft music on, especially if someone she doesn’t know well is coming over. She is convinced that music eases the mind and soul, and can put even the most out of place person at home. I must say, I have to agree.
5. Smile. “There’s no shame in paper plates if they’re heaped high with delight in each other’s company’ (Lisa Jo Baker). The best way to make a home feel warm and inviting is to be happy you’re in it.
Enjoy opening your home this holiday season!Image Sources: 1 :: 2 :: 3 :: 4 :: 5