Maple Alps

hospitality

How to Host on a Budget

Lifestyle, MoneyAmanda Walter | Maple Alps4 Comments

After publishing my mini hospitality series and this post here, I was inspired to share some more tips and ideas on the topic of hosting and hospitality. Budget is always something that I try to be mindful of because if I’m not, money starts disappearing. Well, not really, but you get what I’m trying to say.

I am passionate about the topic of hospitality and I so wish it was something that was practiced more! Gathering together is such an encouraging thing - even for an introvert like myself. It’s so important to cultivate the culture or fellowship, and this is one way that is often overlooked in this age of technology.

Today, I want to share some more practical tips about hosting others, but this time on the topic of finances. Is it possible to have guests over and stay within your budget? Absolutely!

How to Host on a Budget | www.maplealps.com

Choose simple meals you are familiar with

When you’re hosting someone intentionally, what food you serve is not as important as how you serve and encourage hearts. Choose a simple, healthy meal that will not leave anyone feeling too heavy. Also, choose a meal you are comfortable cooking - nights you are hosting are not the nights you should experiment with a new dish. You might end up tossing it and going back to something easy anyway, so save your pennies on a simple meal! Some of my favourites are:

Roasted Garlic Pasta, Green Beans, Bread, and a Salad!

Fruit for dessert with some easy cookies or homemade ice cream

 

Meal plan accordingly

There is no need to go overboard with the amount of food you serve. Plan accordingly for your amount of guests (and you!).

 

Set a Budget and Shop smart

Without setting a budget, there will be no boundaries to the amount you spend. That being said, there is no reason to go overboard or over your budget when picking up groceries. Check for coupons, and don’t go shopping when you’re hungry! Also, check your pantry before you leave!

 

Related: How Not to Go Broke From Buying Groceries

 

Pick flowers from your own garden

While not necessary, flowers are nice to have to create a welcoming environment. Depending on the season, rather than buying flowers, clip some from your own garden (or sit outside and enjoy the garden!). You don’t have to buy expensive blooms to have them appreciated.

 

Use cloth napkins

We always host with cloth napkins because we don’t buy paper ones in an effort to reduce our waste production. But the cloth version helps with the budget too! They don’t cost much extra to wash because we just throw them in with the rest of the kitchen linens anyway, and they can be used over and over again! It’s a great plus that they’re pretty! Just make sure they’re nice and clean before giving them to a guest.

 

Consider a potluck if appropriate

If there is no way you can accommodate everyone, or there is an extremely large group coming, consider asking for help! Make it a potluck so no one feels awkward - where everyone brings their favourite side or dish. You can even assign items so you have more control over the menu. It’s always fun to sample different dishes, and most people don’t mind bringing something to share!


 


How do you host on a budget? Any tips?


 

 

Gathering with Intention and Simplicity

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps9 Comments

Growing up, our family had an open door policy. This means that anybody could come and be with us in our home whenever they wanted - and they would be treated like family. Nothing was off limits. Thanksgiving, Christmas, any and every long weekend holiday - anyone could come. This hasn’t changed. Now that I’ve moved away, I still hear about who came to what dinner or spent the night and it always is fun and surprising to hear about.

A year ago or so, we really tried to be intentional about having more people over to our home, but life gets so busy. This is true for anyone. There’s an increasing trend of being so busy with what we do in life, that we tend to neglect those we do life with. It seems that the art of hospitality is getting lost.

 

Related: The Myths and the Calling of True Hospitality

 

Relationships are so important. A few weeks ago on Instagram, I asked you to share some topics you would like to see on the blog. A few people mentioned the theme of hospitality and hosting others. Today I wanted to share with you how to host with intention and simplicity. These are some easy steps we took that worked for us when we decided to be intentional about sharing our home and showing hospitality to others.  I think it’s a very important thing to gather together to encourage one another, so I hope these tips help you as much as they helped us!

Gathering with Intention and Simplicity | Hosting Made Easy | www.maplealps.com

 

 

Write down some names

Write down the names of some people you would like to reach out to. Those you would like to get to know more, those who are going through a hard time and need ministering to, those who come to mind when you sit down to write down names. Pray about and over your list. I want to encourage you not to just think of your friends or those who can invite you back over. This should not be the purpose of your visits.

 

Find a reoccurring day in your schedule that always works for having some company over and start making phone calls.

For us, weekends are almost impossible to have people over, so we chose one day (sometimes two) during the week to have people over. Maybe the weekends work best for your schedule - that’s great. Block that time off and start calling the people on your list. Fill in the slots, week by week (or month by month depending on how often the schedule you set allotted for). We aim for twice a month. 

 

Don’t focus on a fancy meal

Make sure you have asked about food allergies or sensitivities before planning your meal. People will feel most at ease with an easy, light, healthy meal. There is no need to be formal when you are wanting to focus on relationships. The point of this practice is to touch hearts with warmness, not impress them with your cooking skills (though I’m sure yours are great too).

 

Make your home inviting

While every surface does not have to sparkle, your home should be tidy and neat. No one truly likes a dirty place. Light a candle or pick up some fresh blooms from the grocery store (or from your garden). Make sure any table linens you use are clean. You can even use cloth napkins (We do, but that’s because we don’t have any paper ones)! Serve your simple meal in pretty dishes rather than straight from the pot. Little touches like these will make your home even more inviting. Fun tip: if it's warm enough and if you have outdoor furniture and sufficient shade, sitting outside is a great idea!

 

Related: True Hospitality Made Practical: Three Easy Tips

Gathering with Intention and Simplicity | Hosting Made Easy | www.maplealps.com

 

Worry about souls, not table spreads

Make sure your conversation also has a purpose. Be encouraging, not critical. Be kind about everyone you speak of. Listen carefully and be interested in what your guests say. Help them feel at ease during their stay and offer a prayer for them before they leave.

 

Remember that they are there to visit with you, not your house

There is no need to be stuck in the kitchen all day. There is no reason to slave over polishing every corner of your house (or every piece of silverware) for their arrival. Your guests love you and they love your authenticity. They will appreciate the simpleness and ease in which you present your hospitality.

 
Relationships are so important! Gather with intention!
 

Do you gather with intention? Tell me about it below!


 

 

 

True Hospitality Made Practical: 3 Easy Tips

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps13 Comments

Last week we talked about hospitality and some myths that surround it, as well as how we are called to practice it. As promised, here are some practical ways to be hospitable even if your guests are extremely last-minute. 

True Hospitality Made Practical | www.maplealps.com

 

Create A Warm Atmosphere

While fresh flowers and candles do go a long way to creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere, nothing is as refreshing as a warm, loving smile and willingness to serve. That being said, light some candles and cut some fresh flowers for your guests to enjoy as well! It’s simple and makes a great impact.

Welcome everyone into your home. Let them feel loved, not only by you, but also by God.

Related: The Myths & the Calling of True Hospitality

 

Be aware of needs

Be aware of those around you. Remember that hospitality is not limited to inside your home. Pay attention as you interact with others, and do not let anyone go unnoticed. Take time out of your day to encourage someone, to pray with someone, and to show kindness.

In your home, make sure your guests have what they need, and feel comfortable enough to ask for it. For overnight guests especially, I suggest making everything as accessible as possible. They should feel that they are at home. Make warm drinks and water easily available and stock the bathroom and guestroom with essentials like towels of every size, toiletries and extra toilet paper.

 

Serve Meals With Love

Meals do not have to be extravagant or use expensive ingredients. Make simple meals with love, and do not feel pressured to make something new or complicated (there's always the danger that something new will flop anyway!). Your guests are not there to judge your cooking. They are there to be blessed by you (whether they know it or not). Don't let them leave just thinking about the spectacular meal you just served them, let them leave rejoicing that you have served their souls.

Build a relationship with those around your table and talk about the things that truly matter. Our motto should be like John's; Less of me, more of Jesus. And remember: entertaining is to impress, but hospitality is to bless!

 


How do you show hospitality? Tell us about it in the comments!


 
 

The Myths & the Calling of True Hospitality

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps14 Comments

We live in a world influenced by social media. Picture perfect table settings and staged homes are nearly all I see when I scroll through Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Neat napkin holders and place cards are strategically set by the beautiful food that must have taken hours to prepare and to plate so meticulously. I haven’t even touched on the theme parties, showers and wedding receptions shown that could come right out of a Hollywood movie!

When I talk to others about it, they all seem to express the same underlying tone: that such things are not attainable, so why even try?

I remember taking one of those spiritual gifts tests when I was a teenager and scoring high in the "hospitality" category. While I am not sure how I feel about such tests (when I form a definite opinion, I'll be sure to share), it sparked an interest in me all those years ago.

What is hospitality, and why is it so important? Does it have anything to do with those picture-perfect tablescapes? Is everyone called to show hospitality, or is it just me?

The Myths & the Calling of True Hospitality | www.maplealps.com

The bible does have a few things to say about hospitality.

I looked just a few up (all verses are from the ESV).

  • “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
     
  • “...and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts” Acts 2:46
     
  • “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” Matthew 25:35
     
  • “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9
     
  • "Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." Romans 12:13
     
  • "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34,35
     
  • "She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20

With the Bible being so clear on the importance of each of us showing hospitality, I felt it important to not only practice but help others do so as well. Today, I want to share with you some hospitality myths, and next week, I'll talk about some practical ways to show hospitality.

 

You have to have a perfect home to be hospitable

More important than an open home is an open heart and open hands. Your home does not have to look magazine-worthy but should be filled with genuine love.

Hospitality is not limited to our homes. We should constantly be aware of those around us, and meeting the needs that can be met.

 

Hospitality is to be extended to friends and family

Hospitality is for everyone.

 

Hospitality requires great amounts of time, meticulous planning, and the best version of myself

Hospitality requires vulnerability and obedience. Some of the best and most memorable visits are messy and unexpected. Sometimes showing hospitality is even unwanted! Although the practice of hospitality asks the sacrifice of our time, our needs and our resources, it is rewarded with great joy. There is not much that is more energizing and fulfilling than serving others. You just need to be willing!

 

Hospitality is synonymous with entertaining

There is no mention of Pinterest or picture-perfect table spreads in any definitions of hospitality. Of course, there is nothing wrong with making things beautiful for our guests, but is it true hospitality?

Remember: entertaining is to impress, but hospitality is to bless.

 

Hospitality is a spiritual gift

Hospitality can be risky, and is asked of all of us (remember those verses above?). While some of us may find it easier to do than others, we are all called to show Christ's love and hospitality - gift or not, it can be (and should be!) a part of our lives.

 

Hospitality is merely about sharing a meal or a bed

Strive to do more than just offer a meal or a bed. When we are hospitable, we reach others in a personal and intimate way. Be intentional about who you reach out to; being aware of those around you and their needs plays a huge role in this. Think of the lonely. Think of the unloved. Think of those who need serving. Be bold and think of those you can help draw closer to Jesus. Think about how your hospitality can affect the world!

 

 
Entertaining is for impressing, but hospitality is for blessing!
 

Hospitality is for us to show God's love to others. God calls us to it, and the rewards are eternal. We have been blessed so we can bless others. Withholding hospitality will hinder our joy.

 

How do you show hospitality? We would love to hear about it!
Next week, I'll be discussing some practical ways we all can show hospitality!