Dear family friends used to live in a small, quaint country home. During my growing up years, my siblings and I often spent the weekend at their place. We crowded into their tiny living room and played games, sang, or watched movies.
A few years ago they moved. Their new house is spacious and lovely, but I couldn’t help being a bit sad.
- I miss the warm coziness of their crowded country home.
- I miss playing group games because there just wasn’t enough space for everyone to claim their own room.
- I miss being forced outside when the house started to burst at the seams to enjoy the great outdoors together.
While roomy houses open new opportunities, don’t let a small house paralyze you from hosting company. Even company that stays for an extended time.
As we’ve hosted family and friends in our little place over the past few years, here a few of the DOs and DON’Ts I’ve learned (or, ahem, am learning!) Some are only applicable to a small house, but others are more universal.
DON’T think less space equals less fun. I recently read how once people started moving into larger homes, they just couldn’t imagine how they’d had so much fun before, in such cramped quarters. Tight quarters may change the activities, but they don’t need to stifle the enjoyment.
DO have a game plan. Though you can have lots of fun with company in a small home, have a list of activities planned for when you need to get out. Check out local amusements, plan picnic lunches, go on long walks, etc.
DON’T be upset if your plans get changed. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. That’s okay. (Especially if you decide to slide down a slippery slide and land so hard you can barely walk, let alone make the dinner you had planned!)
DON’T plan overly fancy meals. Yummy food is great. Spending the entire visit in the kitchen isn’t!
Do accept help… whether that help comes in the form of extra hands in the kitchen or a stack of paper plates (or both!)
DON’t expect to keep the house perfectly tidy. When you’ve got lots of extra people and luggage but not lots of extra space, purpose to not let the inevitable mess bug you. Just enjoy the time together.
DO recognize your weaknesses. When I’ve stayed up late and been woken up early (with a night-wakening or two thrown in for good measure) my grouchiness meter starts to rise noticeably by 9:00 p.m. It’s taken me way too long to realize this. Instead of bottling up, I need to pray for grace, take a nap if possible, and/or kindly communicate that I can’t stay up quite so late.
DON’T skip your quiet time. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in playing hostess that I forget to take time to read my Bible and pray. Even a few minutes alone with God can help get my focus readjusted and make me a better hostess.
What about you? What have you learned about hosting company for extended times?