Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hospitality... Tips on Entertaining Overnight Guests

On almost every spiritual gift assessment I've ever taken, I have tested highest in hospitality. For some reason, it scares me to say that "hospitality is my spiritual gift." (Although I'm sure saying that anything was my gift would scare me.) If I actually say it out loud, people will start expecting me to be...well....hospitable. And then, they will judge me on said hospitality.

TheResurgence.com says that the spiritual gift of hospitality is the ability to welcome strangers and entertain guests, often in your home, with great joy and kindness so that they become friends. Hospitality is supposed to include one's family (I Tim 5:8), friends (Prov. 27:10), Christians (Gal 6:10), and strangers who may not be Christians (Lev. 19:34). The people with the gift of hospitality tend to have an "open home" where others are welcome to visit. This gift is often combined with the natural talents of interior design, cooking, and event planning.

So I'm not sure about the great joy and kindness part. Or the natural talents of interior design, cooking, and event planning. BUT I do enjoy having people in our home and Eddie and I have prayed that God would use our home to glorify Him.

OK, enough with the intro...on to what the post is about. I want people to feel welcome in our home. I want our guests to have everything they could need. I don't always succeed. We had friends come in this weekend, so I decided to make a list of what they would need to feel "at home" in our home. I decided to share this list with you. Some of these are no-brainers. But some are things I seem to forget to do until it's too late!

1. Clean your house. It doesn't have to be spotless. I know that my guests realize that I have 4 children and they will be forgiving. But, clean the bathrooms, clean the kitchen and at LEAST sweep/vacuum the floors. You want your guests to feel comfortable - not wanting to call the nearest hotel! If you don't have time to really do a good cleaning, PLEASE clean the bathroom they will be using! Toilet, vanity AND tub. If they are going to be showering there, don't make them regret not bringing their shower shoes.

2. Change the sheets. Do this at least for the bed they will be sleeping in. Then, make the bed up so it is nice and ready for them. Guests in my home have to stay in a kid's room. I do not have the luxury of having an extra room to use as a guest room. And, let's face it, kids can be dirty. Give your guests clean sheets!

3. Empty the trash cans....again, at least in the room and bathroom they will be using.

4. Prepare their bathroom. My guests also have to use a kid's bathroom. So, I try to remember to put adult towels and wash cloths (not hooded towels), an unopened bar of soap or at least a shower gel (this is one of my biggies when I visit somewhere....I don't want to use a bar of soap that has been used by every other guest that has been there. Gross!), and adult shampoo and conditioner. Also, wash the bath mat and hand towel. Make sure there is an extra roll of toilet paper where they can easily find it.

5. Have extra pillows and blankets in their room. If my kids are in a sleeping bag on my floor so someone can have their bed, they'll need their pillow. Which means there isn't one in the bed. Some people (like me) bring their pillows everywhere they go, but some don't!  Also, an extra blanket. We like to keep our house colder than the general population, so I try to remember to leave a blanket out just in case our guests get cold.

6. Have plenty of drinks and snacks available and make sure your guests know where they are.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list. It's also not a difficult list. These are a few easy suggestions to help make your guests more comfortable. I want to become a better hostess, and the Bible tells us to "practice hospitality" (Romans 12:13). It's a work in progress. But I will keep practicing and hopefully keep getting better!

What are your tips for making your guests feel welcome in your home?

I will be back for Hospitality, Part II....Entertaining Dinner Guests! Stay tuned...


Sunkissedandsouthern said...

great post idea! my mom thinks its cute to put a chocolate on the pillow. haha! i have to ask, do you fold the tp roll end into a triangle? i also agree on the soap thing + adult shampoo.  id be upset if i had to sleep on dirty sheets!

Stacy_cardigansandcrayons said...

Ha! Gonna have to add chocolates (even though my kids would eat them before the guests got there) and folding the to! That Wouk be hilarious!!

Aly said...

These are GREAT tips!!! Seriously. Like emptying the trash. Something I often "forget" to do, especially if their visit falls on a day that I don't take out the trash. 

A few other things to think about - always have extra toothbrushes and toothpaste on hand (CVS usually has a pack of 6 for 1.99 and small tubs of toothpaste 3/$1) ..... It's perfect because lets face it, we often forget our toothbrush & toothpaste!

Great post, Stacy! I can't wait to visit you now!

Stacy_cardigansandcrayons said...

That's a good idea!! I don't usually plan that far ahead. I am writing
it on my Wal Mart list now and will get it next time I go, so I'll just
have it handy! Thanks!

I can't wait, either! :)

Marybspicer said...

I got this idea from my sister n law, but she has a bowl in her guest bathroom that she keeps travel size toothpaste, soaps, etc in. And all the hotel shampoos, conditioners, shower gels, soaps, shower caps that she brings home she puts them in there. I have the same thing in my guest/kids bathroom and I just put it on a shelf so kids can't get to it and have a little sign next to it that says guests!

Stacy_cardigansandcrayons said...

Oh Mary, that is a great idea!!

Jcjd Allen said...

I save lotion, soap, shower caps, body wash, toothpaste and toothbrushes (extras from the dentist) from hotel rooms and keep them in a pretty basket in a cupboard in the guest bath.  Our guest bath is Jonathan's bath, but it is decorated "adult style."  Jonathan has a basket for his things on a wire rack in the rr that I replace with the pretty basket of "guest" soap.  All of his tub stuff goes into the basket and into our bathroom for the duration of the stay.  I also prepare a large wicker tray with all kinds of hot cocoa, marshmallows, coffee, tea, sweeteners, silverware and cups (as well as to go cups with lids for coffee) so the guests won't have to hunt down the ingredients for their favorite morning or evening drink.  We've purchased several one cup coffee brewers and cone filters and keep a kettle of warm water on the stove so we won't have to brew a whole pot of some type of coffee or another.  Everyone can have exactly what they like just when they want it... whether it's tea, cocoa, coffee or cider.  http://www.amazon.com/Melitta-Ready-Single-Coffee-Brewer/dp/B0014CVEH6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326853592&sr=8-1
So this was going to be a blog entry right around Christmas.  Obviously I didn't get to it.  :o)

Stacy_cardigansandcrayons said...

Girl you've got it going on!! I'll have to remember this!

Michelle said...

Stacy, it is nice to meet you! I too, am a pastor's wife. I had come from Andrea's blog. I appreciate these tips about hospitality. It is NOT my gift, but I know God calls all of us to practice it.

Have a blessed evening!

Stacy_cardigansandcrayons said...

Thanks for stopping by. Always great to "meet" someone who is in the trenches alongside us!