Secrets of Being A Warm and Welcoming Host


Warm and welcoming. If I could pick two words that are my personal mantra for how I want to be thought of as a host, these are the ones. Warm and welcoming. I am not a gourmet cook. I am not lavish or extravagant. I only strive and humbly hope to be warm and welcoming; making each guest that enters our home feel that I am  happy and grateful to be spending time with them. As we greet Thanksgiving  on Thursday, we welcome in weeks of holiday festivities! 

As you extend your own warm hospitality, keep these thoughts in mind for making your guests feel special:

Don’t be intimidated. Have you ever gone to a friend’s house for lunch and she fixed you a turkey sandwich? A simple turkey sandwich with no special ingredients or toppings. A sandwich that tasted SO good. Ever wonder why? Because someone else made it. You felt treated. You felt pampered and taken-care-of. It’s so nice! It’s not about the turkey sandwich, it’s how it made you feel. Being hospitable is about how you make your guests feel. Not about the size of your home, the meals you cook or the fantastic entertainment you have planned during their visit. Jen Wilkin at The Beginning of Wisdom recently published a wonderful blog post on the difference between entertaining and hospitality. Please hop over to her site and check-out her excellent blog post “Choose Hospitality

Have your house and guest room ready..and clean. Yes – I KNOW! Preparing to host guests is a lot of work! Time it out so that you are not crazed the day of arrival. How do you eat and elephant? One bite at a time. Take the hosting elephant by the trunk and make a plan to eat one bite in the weeks and days leading up to the big day.  Get done what you can in advance because you know that there is always several aspects that can’t be done until the moments before. Use your freezer to preserve your homemade breads and muffins you’ve prepared for breakfast. The fresh bar of soap in the guest bathroom won’t go stale. Put it out in advance!  Set the table. Eastern Home and Travel Magazine had some excellent points for getting a guest room ready! Click here and go to page 69 to read the article “Hospitality is in the Details.”

The little thing can make a big difference. “If you take care of the small things,  the big things take care of themselves” – Emily Dickinson. Do the little things to show your guest you are happy for their visit. Bottled water and their favorite goodies in a pretty basket. A welcome gift left in their room of a local/regional favorite product. A welcome note. Flowers in their room. Fresh towels laying on their bed. Turn the light on in the room if they are arriving at night. A magazine. They will appreciate all that you have done to be warm and welcoming.

Leave room for privacy and space. I’m an extrovert. Shocking. Yes. BUT I like my down time. Time I can chill away from everyone else. Read my book. Catch up on e-mail. Make a quick phone call. It can be exhausting to be with people 24/7. IF it is possible, when you have overnight guests, give them space and time to chill. But always ask. “We can stay in tonight and pop in a movie. Or, if you’d like,  we can go out to the local coffee shop to hear a musician.

KISS. Keep It Simple Sister  (I have a thing about the other “s” word!) Don’t make hosting more complicated than it needs to be.  Don’t make hosting so overwhelming that you never want to do it. Be kind to yourself. Holidays can be very stressful for those who are hosting. You can make the choice to minimize the stress as much as possible. (The stress of family dynamics when hosting is not included in this post! I’ll have to blog about that in another post!)

And speaking of other posts, I blogged about hosting a couple years back. Feel free to visit “The  Happy Host” post for more tips.

This holiday season and always, appreciate the time you have to share with family and friends. Revel in their love and friendship. Be fully present. Be grateful that they have blessed your life. Be warm and welcoming.

Please share with me your tips for making your guests feel welcome in the comments section below.

Wishing you a Thanksgiving full of blessings.

Mind Your Manners,





  1. Hey! And I thought we got all that fuss because we are your parents! You always make us feel welcome at your resort, oh, i mean home. Thank you for always doing and planning special things, plus we love THE COMPANY.

    Just saw a sign that read “Santa had it right~visit only once a year”

    • Kelly

      Thank you Mom! We love having you and Dad visit too! We like trying to spoil you a little after all you do for us!I learned from you…only the good traits of course:) Love the sign!

  2. Kelly, you are definitely a warm and welcoming host! One thing I remember vividly from a party I attended many years ago was how the host did such an awesome job of getting various friends acquainted with one another. My husband and I went to a party at her house, nervous because we were “outsiders” and didn’t know anyone. She connected us with a pair of her friends, got us going on a shared subject and then moved off to work magic elsewhere. It was brilliant! I remembered that as a great strategy for helping to connect friends from disparate parts of your life.

    • Kelly

      Danielle, The example you provided was fantastic! That individual was a GREAT host…knowing how to connect others, yet mingle with everyone!Thank you for sharing. I’m SO looking forward to hosting you and the rest of our wonderful friends next week. I love our Sugar Plum Martini night!

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