With a feminine heart that yearns to serve and nurture, mothers see their homes not just as a roof over their family’s heads. Instead, homes also become the place to gather, celebrate, converse; an abode that offers comfort and restfulness in times of increasing uncertainty and worry. There are only a few things more satisfying to a woman than providing respite for her loved ones in the forms of coffee sessions, dinner conversations, and weekend brunches. Every woman falls in love with the image of people gathered ‘round the table, smiling and dining within the four walls of the home she has built.
But let’s face it: not everyone is born a Martha Stewart, right? Sometimes, entertaining dear family and friends can seem like a daunting task reserved only for those with an abundance of time and resources. We think, ‘I cannot cook to save my life! I don’t know where to get pretty tabletop decors! I simply have no help!’ Here’s the good news, mamas: when we entertain, we don’t have to whip up a three-course meal like Ina Garten or design our dining rooms akin to those glorifying homes on Pinterest. All it really takes is a creative hand and a caring heart. Here are three simple ways to entertaining with style, and more importantly, with love:
1. Decorate your tabletop. Think of your table as your blank canvas - it’s ready for you to adorn it with pretty things. The decors depend if you have a theme or not. Themed parties usually require specific decors but if it’s just an afternoon gathering with the girlfriends or a weekend dinner with the family, a flower arrangement, a charming tablecloth and unique cutlery or fun paper plates will do. Look for ways to add special details that will take your guests out of the ordinary and into something delightful. It doesn’t have to be grand - let your loved ones be the main centerpieces.
2. Make something homemade. Whether your kitchen skills skews beginner, advanced, or absent (we hear ya!), the stove or oven accepts all kinds of women. We just have to take the plunge and trust our hands. You don’t have to make the appetizer, main course, and dessert all by yourself. If time is lacking (or you’re just not a seasoned cooker), pick one dish or dessert to make (and order in the rest). It doesn’t matter if it’s mushroom risotto or an all-time favorite Bolognese, a sourcream cheesecake or a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. As long as it’s handmade and homemade by you, there’ll be nothing else like it.
3. Add personal touches. Celebrating Valentine’s Day with your husband? Slip a love letter under his dinner plate. Gathering your friends for a mommy’s afternoon off? Spritz a relaxing scent around the room. Simply giving thanks? Provide stationery so your family can write down a gratitude list. These are the details that make a get-together feel more like a home than a restaurant. Get creative and think of what will make your loved ones feel appreciated. There’s nothing more graceful than letting others know that they are on your mind. It’s good to always let people know that they are loved and simple, little details do the trick.
In these days of grand, glorious, and great, it’s “the homeliest tasks done with loving hands” that make hearts spin with thrill. We shouldn’t fall into the pressure that our homes must be big, our tables must be strewed with designer pieces, and our meals must be as good as a top restaurant. The secret is charming, homemade, and personal are what turns the pretty into beautiful, the simple into extraordinary. That’s what women are great at. And the people - our loved ones - is what makes the challenges of entertaining more than worth it.
This article first appeared on MomCenter, an online resource for moms that provides practical information and valuable insight into the world of motherhood and womanhood.