Around the Table
They come around at different times of the year and often bring with them: opportunities to celebrate, to gift each other with something, to eat (lots...and lots) of good food and of course have a good reason to decorate and buy that extra piece of something cute that Target added to the dollar spot, specifically for that purpose. They get me very. single. time.
But the holidays also bring the opportunity to sit around a table with the ones you love and create an environment in which to do so.
One of the goals I've worked towards when hosting the holidays at my place is make this environment so welcoming my guests don't even realize the amazing time they had. What? You're thinking. I know that sounds contradictory to what you want someone to experience. You should want a guest to rave about the design, to compliment the flowers and let you know how amazing those tie-dye napkins are (seriously, check them out, they're pretty sweet...).
Don't get me wrong, I like all of those things too but creating an environment where a guest can come, sit back, relax and not focus on what's going on yesterday or tomorrow but enjoy the moment they are in. Where they can look around and smile at the memories being made, absorb the laughter around them, smell the smells coming from the kitchen, and hear the chatter of good conversation. That, is success.
So, how do you do this?
It starts with a good design. Think about the day at hand. We just celebrated Easter in the Reese home and so I wanted to create a scene that felt effortless and calm because sometimes family dinners can get a little exciting and this year we had 16 people in our little town house.
Here are a few quick pointers to creating a welcoming and relaxing holiday environment:
- Make your decor fit the theme of the holiday, but incorporate parts of your every day decor into the design so that the house blends into the decor. This allows the home to feel part of the design and not feel so disruptive by say a giant Easter bunny in the middle of a table 🙂
- Rearrange your furniture to best fit your guests and the flow of the day. Where will food be? How will they get to their seats? Is there an area for appetizers? Do you want drinks to be on the table or separate? Will guests sit down before dinner? If you have a small space like we do, answering some of these questions and being strategic about where your furniture goes makes a big difference for the flow and feel of your day.
- Try to prepare things ahead of time as best as possible. For everyone, this isn't possible but when you can, being prepared ahead of schedule allows for ease on the day of. For example, create a list of dishes to be prepared and a layout of where those dishes will go the day of. So when day of comes and you have people helping, you can easily direct them where that delicious plate of ham goes without feeling flustered.
- Be kind and courteous under stress. Hosting can be a big challenge and when dishes are coming out of the oven, people are crowding your kitchen, kids are dropping drinks and the noise seems to be getting louder, it's easy to get flustered. But, remember, life is short and family is important so put on that smile, say thank you and know that at the end of the day your guests will be grateful for the time they had together.
So the next time you think about hosting the holidays at the house, why not say yes?