We’re a week out from Thanksgiving. Are you ready? Whether or not you’re hosting a full, multi-course dinner, you can practice hospitality in smaller ways this season.
Opening your door to loved ones is just one facet of biblical hospitality. As Jen Schmidt, author of Just Open the Door, said:
Our Lord who embodied the ultimate lifestyle of hospitality—the style guide, the living portrait of all things welcome—never owned a house, but He still initiated hospitality everywhere He went.”
Throughout Scripture, this amazing Host teaches what it means to invite others into a new way of life, yet He never stayed in one place for long. He always traveled where needed, and met people where they were at in the most unlikely places, creating a safe place of belonging as He walked.”
Everyone has a different style of hospitality, and that’s okay! You don’t need to oversee and orchestrate a large dinner party to reflect Jesus into people’s lives this season. After all, Jesus never owned a home.
So if a big holiday party or family gathering just isn’t your thing, here are a few smaller ways to practice hospitality that will mean just as much:
- Bake sweet treats for your neighbors.
Take the seasonal baked goods to them. Spend the day baking with friends, your kids, or simply alone with your favorite music or podcast (we love the MARKED podcast and our favorite Bible teachers), and drop off treats to each of your neighbors. (Pro tip: If you’re in the midst of some neighborhood feud with any neighbors, add even more cookies to their treat bags to show them relationships mean more than silly arguments.) Use seasonal treat boxes and bags (like the ones here, here, and here) to up your presentation game. Because good cookies make for good neighbors.
- Drop off gift cards to your kids’ teachers.
If your kids have ever exhausted you, then you understand why we need to show greater appreciation to the teachers in our lives! Send your kids to school with coffee shop gift cards or bags of local coffee wrapped in string to give their teachers the caffeine boost they need to make it through the rest of the school year. And include handwritten cards telling them the difference they’ve made in your child’s life because everyone needs to be seen and valued. Especially those who wrangle elementary kids for a career.P.S. If you homeschool your kiddos, take yourself to coffee or tea. Weekly. Because you deserve it!
- Remember those who serve us in small, daily ways.
When we think of hospitality, we usually think of inviting over our friends and family, right? But don’t forget the women and men who work hard to provide services we use every day. Leave gift cards in the mailbox for your mail carrier and taped to your trash and recycling bins (with a large eye-catching bow!) for your trash collectors. Remember your small group leader, the church secretary, and the church janitor. Their behind-the-scenes jobs keep our daily lives running smoothly. Jesus took note of the hard-working people who were often overlooked, so watch for any opportunities to give back to them this season.
- Prepare dinner—for a family in need.
Not everyone starts listening to Christmas music in early November. With such an emphasis on friends and family, people who have lost loved ones can find the holidays especially difficult to get through. Remember these people. Double your family gathering recipes, and make an extra casserole for a grieving friend. Or cook a full meal to deliver to a family who needs it most. Better yet, spend a little time with them when you drop the food off. Give them your time in a world that often leaves the confused, lonely, and hurting behind. For giftable bakers and platters, see Everyday Hospitality’s newest line for holiday home goods.
- Invite a small group over.
Maybe you do love throwing get-togethers for loved ones! If you’re up for a low-key evening at your place, invite over those closest to you. Make the main entrée, and ask friends to bring only complimentary sides. Or throw a dessert-only bonfire with slow cookers brimming with homemade hot chocolate and apple cider. Choose simple over complicated because your closest friends and family care more about you than being impressed by your hosting abilities.
How do you practice hospitality over the holidays?