Monday, October 21, 2013

5 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet

We all know that first impressions are important. We can't help but have an initial impression of people when we meet them for the first time, or when we start a new job or visit a church, etc. As human beings, it is natural for us to observe the immediate surroundings and attitude and feel of the people around us and to come to a conclusion (hopefully a good one) about the place/people involved. The same goes for a home. The first time we enter a home of a friend or aquaintance, we form an opinion. Do we feel welcome here? Do I feel at home here? Am I afraid to sit anywhere or touch anything? Lots of factors are involved that help us come to those conclusions. Let's explore some of those things and hopefully determine what (if any) we need to work harder on. I know there are some things I need to work on here!
1. The Entry. Is your doorway clean and inviting? Go outside and take a look around. {Go on, I'll wait.} What did you notice about your sidewalk, porch, doorway? Is it clean, full of spiderwebs, properly lit? I'm not saying it has be to perfect, but I think we could all agree that we would much prefer walking up to a house with a clean, well-lit entrance. I'm not a fan of spiders or their webs. I turn into a ninja warrior when I walk into a spiderweb. It's not pleasant. I realize that most of us probably enter our homes through our garages and hardly ever use our front door, but our guests will most likely use the front door. So, let's clean it up a little. I KNOW your guest will appreciate it. You might even put a wreath on the door or a welcome sign nearby.
2. The Welcome. When I visit friends and family, I love that they greet me at the door or just inside the door when I come. It's a great gesture and says, "You are welcome here! I'm so glad to have you here." A genuine smile and hug (when appropriate) are also very welcoming. It immediately reinforces that I'm in a place where I belong and can be comfortable here. Have you ever been invited to someone's home and NOT been greeted at the door or with a friendly smile? It is a very awkward situation to be in and makes me want to just turn right around and go home. I grew up in a family of huggers. So, everytime we went to visit family and even friends - we were greeted with hugs and smiles and laughter. It's a great thing to know you are welcome.
3. The Stuff. I was talking with a friend recently about having people over and the pros and cons of that. We both agreed that it sometimes is hard to deal with the fact that our 'stuff' might get broken or stained when we have people over. But we also agreed that really in the end, it's just stuff. It can be replaced or repaired. The lesson here is don't value stuff over people. If you have precious valuable things that are at risk of getting broken, just put them away while company is over. It's obvious that we all value our things differently. We are trying to instill a sense of stewardship in our children so that they understand the value of things in the sense that we paid money for these things and we need to take care of our stuff and the things God has given us. In addition to that, we need to treat other people's 'stuff' the same way. But as a hostess, we shouldn't let our love of 'stuff' keep us from welcoming people into our home.
4. The Plan. When you invite people over, put a little bit of effort into having a plan for the time they are there. I'm not saying you have to constantly entertain them or keep them busy. Too much of that can have the opposite effect and make them feel like an inconvenience. By plan, I mean, plan ahead and have enough food, plates, utensils, cups, etc. for all of them. Have an order in your mind of how you want to see the evening go. (i.e. Welcome them, serve appetizers, have the meal, move to living room, chat awhile, serve dessert and coffee, etc.) It doesn't have to be rigid, but think it all through before they come so that you can enjoy your time together and no one feels like nobody knows what's going on or who's in charge.
5. The Details. Little details make things very special and show your guest that you went the extra mile for them. You don't have to do a lot to make things nice. Just do something! And whatever you do, put your heart into it. People remember. I remember visiting a good friend that had moved away and she left little chocolates on my pillow when I went to bed and a water bottle by the bathroom sink in case I was thirsty. That was 13 years ago. See the impression that made on me? My sister always comes up with neat stuff when we have family meals together like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Whether it's cute place cards or unique table centerpieces or whathaveyou, there's always something special added. Last year, I added Christmas Crackers to the kids' place settings and that was a fun, inexpensive little thing for them to make it special. (And as a side note, you can do fun things just for your family, too, to make them feel special for no other reason than to say I love you.) Use one or more of the countless free printables on Pinterest to take your get togethers to the next level. It doesn't cost much, but it makes a world of difference to those your welcoming into your home.
What kind of things do you do to say "Welcome" in your home? Do you have a favorite little something special you do for your guests? Leave a comment with your favorite things to do for your guests so that we can all get new ideas. I know I could use some!
This is part of my 31 Days of Home Economics series. You can find the whole series at the tab above {Home Economics}.
Thank you so much for visiting with me today! I hope you'll come back soon. I'm sharing this with some of these friends.
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  1. Great advice! I've stayed in dozens of peoples homes, and you can be sure that many left an impression - it just wasn't always a good one! These are great tips, thanks! =)

    1. Thank you! I'm working on being one that leaves a good impression! Thanks for stopping by!


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