Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Holiday Prep: Planning Your Gatherings

You know we host a lot of gatherings here at the cottage throughout the year, and the holidays are no exception.  


I've been highly influenced by Emilie Barnes' books through the years and that's how I learned to cook my famous turkey.  Hint: slow roasting overnight.

I've learned to set the table a few days a head, ask people to bring side dishes or desserts, to focus on the reason we're gathering and the people.

Cheryl at Thinking About Home, has great tips and her blog is full of inspiration for gatherings.  A longtime blog friend has written a book to inspire connection called Simple Gatherings.

This book is full of easy tips to make hosting a 'gathering' simple.  (she has other really good books, too!)  

Remember, the main things about hospitality are this:

1. People love to be asked.  Everyone loves to know you've thought of them and want them to come, and many people are lonely at the holidays.

2. They don't care if you have a small home, or simple dwelling.

3. They will be willing to bring something, just ask!

If you think about it ahead, and don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed, your gatherings can be fun for everyone.  I also find it helpful to set aside expectations.  If you build up an ideal in your head, and then reality doesn't fit that, you'll be miserable and feel like a failure.  You don't need to go there!  Keep it simple, and focus on the people, not the to do list.  It will be so much fun!


  1. Love that family picture! Table setting is GORGEOUS! Have a blessed day dear friend, HUGS!

  2. I would love to attend one of your gatherings!

  3. The one thing I miss from having a larger house is my formal living room that had DOORS. I could set the table days in advance of a gathering and shut the doors to keep our (then) two kitties out of trouble. These days I have to set the table that morning and it makes it more difficult. I'm not sure what we are doing this Thanksgiving with the new baby making travel here more difficult.

  4. good advice! dotsie

  5. I was just checking out the turkey directions last night, which led to a lot of reading of interviews given by Emilie Barnes. All very interesting. I admire people who do hospitality well. I don’t. Never have, probably never will, but I can still practice! ☺️

  6. That looks most inviting! Now we have downsized in our 'old age', I do miss the room to entertain. But still, I don't have so much energy nowadays, so perhaps small is better!

    1. It doesn't have to be a big group! Small is delightful, so is one on one!

  7. Those are all good tips!! I often think of #1 and associate it with you! I also agree that it is so important to focus on the people and not the to-do list. Good post!

    (I was surprised to see my own name here beside Melissa's, but I thank you for that honor!)


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