ANSWER TO 'THE YOUNG MAID'
Extra from Volume 4#4
The Question Was:
"If guests are coming over, what can I do to make the house more welcoming and comfortable for them?"-A to-be Hostess
We don't have people over a whole lot, but enough that I have learned a few things that put both you and your guests at ease.
First, soft, instrumental music is nice to have playing in the background. It adds a pleasant, relaxing and homey atmosphere. If it's hymns playing, it can also be a bit of a witness to your guests.
Fancy table settings are not always necessary. They can actually make your guest feel out of place. A table cloth and maybe a candle (make sure your guests are not allergic to smells, etc.) can make a simple but nice setting.
Often when I got to someone's place and they have a simple setting, I think, "How nice that table looks and how homey it feels here!" And then I go to anther person's home and am constantly reminding myself, "Be careful! Don't drop that or knock that over! Did I drop some crumbs?" The atmosphere you want to create is the former.
Also, try to relax, even though it's hard. If you look and act uncomfortable or nervous, it makes your guests feel ill-at-ease. I know I often tend to do this and later think, "Why was I so nervous?" If you don't have much company over, this is hard to do. But the more you do it, the easier it gets.
One more thing: your meal does not have to be elaborate. A simple "meat and potatoes" meal often is the nicest! Casseroles are also nice as they don't need so much last minute stuff done. And your guests probably would appreciate a simple meal as much as a fancy one. I hope this is helpful to you!
Growing up, Mother has impressed on my sisters and I the importance of making the house feel warm and welcome to visitors, especially relatives.
There’s never too much that can be done. The first thing that our mother considers important is the bathroom: at the present moment we have two bathrooms, one in the master bedroom and the other for the children's use. With seven children using the one bathroom, it is not going to be presentable at any given moment! When we know we will be hosting visitors, we zoom in on this particular room and clean it from top to bottom. In our present house it is especially difficult (not being all the way finished out), and we must exert all our powers to make it look presentable and sweet-smelling. One way to make it smell good, is to place a candle or two on the sink, etc. after cleaning the bathroom. This gives the room a warm, comforting and pleasant fragrance to the visitor. This works better than spray, I think, as you don’t have to keep spraying periodically.
Of course we vacuum, if needed, the living room and any other room that will be used; since ours is relatively small and gets dirty quicker, we do it every time. We like to place a special tablecloth on the dining room table if it is in view, and maybe some flowers in a vase if available.
Lighting: In the winter, low lighting is very comforting and warming. We really enjoy, even in the summer evenings, turning on a string of “Christmas” lights we have strung up around the living room year-round, and turning off the main light. It gives a nice glow, is just enough light to be able to see by, and calms the mind.
Besides making a visitor feel welcome in the house itself, there is the physical fulfillment part.:) A visitor should never have to ask for anything. When anyone comes over, even for a short “drop by” visit when they sit down and talk, we try to first give them something to drink-- if there is a choice, we’ll ask, but if not, we’ll just set it down in front of them. We also try to set out a snack just as a matter of form. It could be chips and hotsauce here in Texas, trail mix, or other simple, easy fingerfood.
I hope this helps. Entertaining visitors is fun, and on such occasions as dinner parties and such, each doily on the coffee table or extra dusting makes visitors feel they are special--which they are! Most of all, put on a happy, joyful countenance and make them feel that you welcome them!