I’ll never forget the evening, several years ago, when I was racing around the house getting ready for a party we were hosting. I barked orders at my family, did a lot of loud sighing and grumbling and generally made myself and everyone around my crazy as I prepared to welcome our guests.
Once the doorbell rang, though, I was all smiles and as cool as a cucumber. Later that night, my husband gently informed me that while our guests got the “nice Vanessa”, my family got “maniacal mommy”. And then he said that if that was how things would always be, we shouldn’t host things anymore. What?? Not play hostess to our friends and family? That was NOT an option. So, I took my husband’s words to heart (which I knew he risked life and limb to utter) and decided that hosting should be a simple affair. One that is born out of a love for hospitality and not for impressing.
I realized that what people really want to feel when they walk through your door is a warm and welcoming atmosphere. And that, hopefully, they weren’t going to pull out a white glove and check for dust!
This year, I thought that some of my “mom friends” from my kids’ school could use a nice break from the craziness of the season and invited them to join me for coffee and cookies.
I kept things VERY simple. I even went so far as to make these peppermint and chocolate chips scones from…gasp…a box!
These toffee cookies might have been made from scratch but done a few days ahead, I saved myself a lot of time and it made the morning effortless.
And when Hometalk found out that I was going to be hosting a party in my home, they sent these wonderful mugs as gifts for all my friends!
I added some greenery, berries and ribbon to my beautiful Wayfair cloche and it made even store-bought gingerbread cookies look extra special.
I’m so thankful for these lovely ladies and all of the rest of the gals who joined me that morning!
And, I’m sure that they, like me, won’t remember the decorations or the cookies or even the coffee (we’re serious about our coffee in the Pacific NW!). I think that what we will all remember is how wonderful it felt to pause in the midst of the busyness of this time of year to fellowship and laugh together.
After all, isn’t that what being a good hostess is really all about?
Sami Pat says
Vanessa, I’m sure they will remember the hospitality and the warmth of friendship. It’s good to be reminded of what really counts as I scramble to prepare for company tomorrow.
laura@Top This Top That says
My kind of party! My friends wouldn’t expect anything less then me showing up in bare feet to greet them in the door!! Merry Christmas V ( and Heather too)!
I have been there done that too! And yes spending time with friends and family is more important that the details of a party! The time spent is what will be remembered the most!
Ah man, I think we’ve all done that a time or five. Thanks for being real, speaking from your heart and encouraging us to keep it simple. Wish I could’ve joined you for those yummy treats but even better, to hang out and enjoy some time laughing!
Shelley @ Calypso in the Country says
I hate the monster I turn into before guests arrive. And when you think about it, being gracious to your immediate family should always be top priority. Thanks for the reminder…luckily we are not hosting Christmas! Have a wonderful holiday!
Marty@A Stroll Thru Life says
Great post and I think we’ve all been the maniac at times. I hope you and your family have a very Blessed and Merry Christmas. Hugs, Marty
Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage says
You’ve got it right – after all, we should only invite people to our home’s that don’t mind a few dust bunnies! Here’s to many more parties with friends and a wonderful Christmas Vanessa!
That’s some very wise advice as the season gets busier and tempers run short! I know I need to keep it in mind right about now.
Heidi @ Decor & More says
I can totally relate! We’ve got 3 young adult kids and 2 teens in the house, so we’ve gotten very good at impromptu “parties”… I realized they’re not even looking at the kitchen floor filth as long as there’s food, drink, and laughter.
Merry Christmas, Vanessa!
How funny, because I have done the same thing too and just like your husband talk to you my hubby did the same thing. So, now I don’t freak out and if something doesn’t get done – all well. If the house is not perfect -don’t care. I have learned not to drive my kiddos and husband crazy. LOL
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
I loved reading through your Hosting experience. I think we all have a tendency to want to impress that we loose sight of the SWEET time of family, friends and fellowship. Thank you so much for sharing and reminding us of the TRUE meaning of Gathering and the richness and genuine Hospitality can have, if we only relax and slow down!
I think us women have all been there (running around like chickens with our heads cut off), trying to make our house look perfect. But like you said, in reality, all guests want is to feel welcome and comfortable. They want to have a good time and enjoy the company. I’ve learned that as long as your kitchen and guest bathroom are clean, it’s all good! I have to remember that when I go to someone’s home, I’m not looking at dust…so why should I think that someone might be looking at mine? Right? 😉
Carol Reddin says
Thank you for caring more about your guests than about the house. I’m sure it was a relaxing respite for your friends and for you! Loving you, Mom
Simple and inviting, that’s what it should be all about. I’m glad you enjoyed hosting without the stress.
Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!
That’s some great advice. I’ve tried to stay as low key as possible about hosting Christmas Eve tonight, but with 34 people it’s a bit of a challenge. All of the tables have been set for a few days now and the cooking was done yesterday. Today we are just spending a quiet day at home, doing some last minute things, before everyone arrives at 4pm. I am even taking a few minutes to drop by and wish you a very Merry Christmas to both of you and your families!
Susan @ My Place to Yours says
Well, Vanessa, you’re a faster learner than I was! I’m sorry to say that the Maniacal Mommy hung around far too long at our house; thank goodness she’s finally been gone now for years! Your home looks lovely, and I know your guests appreciated the efforts you made to present even box (gasp!) goodies so beautifully. Merry Christmas to you and Heather and your families!
Raliegh Timmins says
I grew up in a home where my Mom was Maniacal every time we expected even a handful of guests. Since, I am not a detail person, the only thing I’ve been able to imitate, was the stress before people gather. My daughter is getting married in 2 more days, for her sake and mine we kept Christmas as simple and stress free as possible. It turned out to be a much more joyful time. Thanks for blessing me with this post so I can keep that foremost in my mind for the wedding.