There are a lot of things to love about the South, but the hospitality may just rank at the very top.
When my little family moved to the South a few months ago, the general inclination towards generosity and charity struck me. Everyone was so nice. I quickly realized that the South’s reputation for hospitality is well-deserved.
We can certainly learn a thing or two about hosting from classic Southern hospitality and the “come on in” mentality!
The Importance of Warmth
The heat and humidity are nearly inescapable below the Mason-Dixon line, but so are the friendliness and affection. The feeling of warmth can be so delightfully incorporated into your home’s exterior – whether you have a veranda or a little front stoop. A seasonal wreath, welcome mat, and potted plants can make anyone immediately feel the coziness of home.
The Southern hostess is at ease throwing open her door and her arms to anyone at any time.
What will draw guests in even more than exterior design, though, is the warmth of the hostess inside. The Southern hostess has a full heart that can’t help but overflow, pouring love into everyone she meets. This fullness makes her radiant and inviting like the sun itself.
Company before Convenience
The Southern hostess places company before convenience. She’s at ease throwing open her door and her arms to anyone at any time. While planned visits are always nice, the true charity comes in when Betsy down the street clearly needs a hug and a cup of tea or your husband brings his coworker home for dinner on a whim. There’s nearly nothing that can’t be dropped in order to tell a visitor to “pull up a chair and stay awhile.” Plans are loose and to-do lists can be forgotten until tomorrow. The person at your door takes priority!
Full Hearts, Full Pantries
The Southern hostess can do all of this because she’s prepared. Not only is her heart overflowing, but so is her pantry. Aside from her family’s weekly needs, she keeps stocked staples for whipping up her signature hors d'oeuvres and sweets, bottles of wine and bubbly, and maybe even a pineapple (after all, it is the very symbol of hospitality).
Even if her cabinets happen to be bare, though, she still humbly welcomes in her guests and offers what little she does have. The love that she pours into this simple offering will make it better than a five-course feast.
Whether little or much, the Southern hostess gives her guests her very best.
Whether little or much, the Southern hostess gives her guests her very best – her best linens, her best wine, her best self. She deems every soul important enough to receive the finest she has. She says, “What’s mine is yours” – and means it!
Goodness Is Greater than Perfection
Perfection pales in comparison to goodness. The Southern hostess doesn’t worry if her china is chipped, if the cookies are slightly burned, or if the children have made a mess in the living room. She doesn’t serve her guests to puff up her own ego. She serves to fulfill their needs and desires. So long as all is done in love, out of the very goodness of her heart, all is well. She has done what she’s called to do: love the one who knocked on her door.
Selflessness is the hallmark of Southern hospitality. Hostesses don’t give to receive. They give simply to love the other. With the eagerness and enthusiasm of Beauty and the Beast’s Lumiere and Mrs. Potts, they cheerfully say “Be our guest!” to anyone and everyone.
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