Learning the art of hospitality, one step at a time

photo by trainman74

 Last night, we had a couple friends over for dinner and to play board games (Scattergories to be exact, one of my faves).

Hosting a game night like that is something we picked up during our short-lived time in Grand Rapids, and one of my favorite things about the culture up there: They were such gracious hosts and hostesses, inviting people over for dinner and a movie, to play silly games or “just because.”

In Ohio, I had been used to hanging out with people in either of two settings: either at a party (ideally, themed) with lots of people (and lots of  food and lots of clean-up) or at Starbucks or a restaurant. The only game nights I went to were at my Aunt and Uncle’s houses, so this kind of in-between hosting was one of the most inspiring things I noticed about my new friends in Grand Rapids.

Perhaps it’s a consequence if living in a place with lots of snow that forces you indoors for a good chunk of the year, but I think a lot of it comes down to hospitality--something I truly want to work on. I tend to shy away from inviting people over because what if our place isn’t picture-perfect or I don’t really know what to cook? I often feel intimidated by it all, so I push it off.

But last night we decided to just dive into it. We went to Trader Joe’s and bought the little bags of readymade pizza dough and everyone made their own personal pan pizzas with a variety of on-hand toppings we had. They turned out delicious and then we went and played a couple rounds of Scattergories before calling it a night at 9pm.

It was a small step for me, but an encouraging one because we did it. We were able to ease our way into learning how to open our house and embrace simple hospitality, without any need for fanfare or over-the-top culinary creations. It was fun and it was simple. And there’s just something about it that makes me feel more grown-up, more like “this is my home.” I’d like  to get in the habit of doing this more often, to make hospitality more of a rhythm in this little newlywed life of ours…

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