Simple Hospitality for the Holidays

holiday hospitality

Thursday we celebrate my absolute favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving. It’s one of the only holidays that isn’t commercialized (although I’m sort of disgusted that so many stores are going to be open on Thursday), and the primary focus is on counting our blessings.

I host Thanksgiving every year which is great because that means that I don’t have to load up and take the kids everywhere. But it can also be a little bit of work too. I have learned over the years some simple tips to really help simplify the holiday prep work and just enjoy the act of showing hospitality to my family and friends who come over.

If you’re the one hosting

It’s OK to seek out Help

Just because you are hosting doesn’t mean that you have to be the sole responsible one to make all the food. I only make the turkey, stuffing, and butternut squash soup. Everyone else makes and brings the sides, desserts, and drinks. Yes I love to cook and I have some really good recipes, but I’m also aware of my time and it is not realistic for me to make every single dish and take care of my other responsibilities as well.

I have found that my family is very willing and often eager to bring something to contribute. It’s a great way for everyone to feel involved and enjoy one another’s cooking. If your in a pinch, most grocery stores can also provide some pre-made sides or a turkey but you do have to reserve ahead of time.

Less is More

You don’t need to have a perfectly decorated table filled with all of your best dishes, formal place settings, elaborate center piece, and every side dish out. I personally like a simple table, because after everyone sits down to eat we want to be able to see one another while we carry on a conversation, plus I don’t know about you but I feel stressed at a table jammed pack with stuff.

I set up my plates and food like a buffet in the kitchen. My family comes in grabs their own plates, silverware, drinks, and food. This way I’m not having to wash dishes that were never used and people are only using what they actually need. I do keep one fall centerpiece on my dinning room table because it’s been there all season, but if I need to move it during dinner I’m OK with that.

Clean{ish} is Alright

Here’s the deal, spend time deep cleaning the bathroom, dinning room, or any bedrooms what guests might be sleeping in. Give your kitchen a basic cleaning, but wait until after Thanksgiving to deep clean it because it’s going to get really dirty the day of. I also do a quick dusting and sweeping of all the floors since we have hardwood.

Your home doesn’t need to be immaculately clean, but it should be picked up. Light some candles to give it a warm and cozy feeling and smell. Lay out some board games in the living room, and have the T.V. remote handy for football viewers 🙂

If You’re the One Visiting

Offer to Bring Something

Always ask to bring something or if the hostess needs any help. Sometimes the hostess may feel uncomfortable asking her guests to bring something so break the ice and offer. And if they still insist that you don’t need to bring anything…

Bring Something Anyway

Bring a simple salad or side, bottle of wine or soda, or a plate of cookies. Or maybe even a bouquet of flowers with a candle. As someone who likes to host, it’s just nice to receive something helpful even if I tell them they don’t have to. But don’t bring something just to bring something, make it a heart-filled hostess gift, sometimes a simple note of gratitude is a well received gift. .

Clean the Dishes

Once dinner is over just head to the kitchen to start washing dishes or put away food. Don’t ask if help is needed, just do it. I have never had to wash a single dinner dish, I have some great family members. Usually when a few people tag team the clean up, it gets done in record time. And the sooner you get those dishes clean, the sooner you get to enjoy that pie!


Whether you are the one hosting this holiday season, or you are going to someone’s house, the focus should be on the family gathering, loving one another, serving one another, fellow shipping with one another, and laughing with one another.

Holiday’s don’t have to mean a lot of fuss, yes there is a little bit of work that goes into the gathering, but hopefully these simple tips will help you to make your Thanksgiving (any holiday gathering really) a little less stressful and filled with more intention.

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  1. Kristin @ Dizzy Busy and Hungry! says:

    Great ideas! This will be really helpful to de-stress the holidays. Pinning and sharing!

  2. Great advice. When I was younger and trying to make an impression on family, I would clean till I couldn’t stand and still had to cook Christmas breakfast. Now that I have gotten older and much wiser, I’m like you. Bathrooms and the areas where people will be the most. It works!! Great post

    1. Tammy I have really had to work at creating some sort of balance with this too. The type-A person in me wants to have everything perfect, clean, and organized, but I slowly learning that in reality I need to be OK with my limits and that my family isn’t coming over to look at my house they are coming for time spent together! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. These are great tips. We go to both sides of the family, and for my mom’s, I bring desserts and breads. For my mother-in-law, I would bring desserts too, but she would still buy store-boughten pie and none of them would get eaten, so I have since stopped. Thanks for linking up with the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board!

  4. Barb @ A Life in Balance says:

    Great tips! My sil always reminded me before a family birthday party that people were coming to see us, not the house. Clean-ish is good enough.

    I saw your post linked up on the SITS Facebook page and hopped over to check it out. I love your site. I’ve been digging into your other posts and finding fresh inspiration as a mom.

    I pinned your post on my Entertaining board. I would love for you to share these tips with my readers at Motivation Monday.

  5. Hey Victoria! It’s Deonna from the Child at Heart blog! Thank you so much for linking up at the Merriest Blog Hop! I can’t wait to see all of your holiday ideas…this is such a helpful post. I was visiting my mother in laws house last night and I brought dessert but I think I got away easy this time. You are right about not cleaning too much before people come over. I make sure my bathrooms are clean or guest beds if people are staying the night but why clean when it’s going to get dirty. Plus no one cares as long as it’s picked up. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way 🙂

  6. Sarah @ Thank You Honey says:

    Great ideas! The holidays can be so stressful! Great to meet you & new follower! Thanks for sharing at Whatever Wednesday on Thank You Honey!

  7. Pingback: Thrive @ Home Thursday {12-5-13} - Live Called | a blog by Jenni Mullinix

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