Entertaining friends, whether planned for months or at the last minute, is such an act of generosity. I always really appreciate it when someone is willing to make efforts to invite me over and include me in his or her home life. And, I like to give that gift to my friends and family as well. But, I probably don't do it enough. After all, connecting with friends and family is a big part of leading a healthy lifestyle and it sure is one of the most fun parts of staying healthy! There is nothing better than sharing a laugh, lending a supportive ear, contemplating the meaning of life, or creating a memorable time with friends and family. Yup, nothing better.
So why is it we don't invite people over more? Could it be we are afraid they will judge our disorganized office space, our smelly dog or rambunctious children? Maybe. Or, perhaps we feel we have to have the perfect occasion, best tasting food, or just right everything else. All false. Our friends, our family? They all just want to connect with us more and what a better place to do it than in our own home?
How to Gather Your Friends for a Spontaneous Get-TogetherThose last minute get-togethers at your place can really turn into some of the best of times. Although you really do not need to follow any of these tips here to round up your pals, maybe being ready to do it with these preparation tips may actually encourage you to do it more often and find yourself saying: "Hey, come on over. Yes, right now!"
Put the smelly dog outside. If Fido is long overdue for a bath, just throw him a bone and keep him outside if you feel he will offend. And, then wash him tomorrow! That goes for closing the door to your messy office, too. People are not judging you like you think they are. They are there to see you, not your perfect house or lavender smelling dog.
Give your bathroom a peek. I wouldn't worry too much about how clean your house is but I would check out the status of the guest bathroom. A quick wipe to the sink and mirror and make sure to leave soap and a clean fingertip towel out.
Stocked pantry equals instant appetizer. Next shopping trip, find your favorite olives, whole grain crackers, and various nuts to keep around. A great offering on the fly could be a bowl of fresh farmers market cherry tomatoes or radishes with a bit of pink salt or a big bowl of fresh popcorn.
Chill a few bottles. Whatever you drink, alcohol or not, keep at least a few bottles of that in the fridge ready to offer. I like to keep a few bottles of sparkling water and apple cider in there, too, for those who do not drink alcohol and kids love it, too. Keep lemons and limes around or pop a frozen raspberry or two in the bottom of a pretty glass and you are ready to give a toast! Or, serve your guests some delicious detox water like this in a mason jar with a straw. Of course, if there is a signature cocktail or mocktail you have up your sleeve, keep those ingredients stocked up, too, and share your skills with your friends.
Make it festive, but don't fuss. I have a cabinet in my dining room that we call "party central." Everything is there to make it an occasion. In it I have matches, birthday candles and hats, lots of votives, fun straws, pretty cocktail napkins I pick up on sale, and a few nice bowls and trays to reach for when entertaining. Go ahead and light a candle or two, throw out some colorful or fun napkins, and put those appetizers on a nice tray. In fact, take out even looks nicer when on a pretty dish. When all those things are there, you didn't fuss, you just made it a little more fun!
Don't be afraid to ask. Inviting a crew over? By all means, enlist their help. People love that, actually. See who can bring a bottle of wine, a favorite cheese, a great DVD for an impromptu movie night with the girls, etc.
Play some tunes. Some music playing always lifts the spirits or sets the mood. Break out the iPod or whatever music storage you use and share what you enjoy with your friends and family.
What about you? Do you have friends over a lot? What tips do you have. I would love to hear them!
photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/piper/980677074/">CaptPiper</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>