Saturday, September 30, 2023
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4 Inviting Holiday Home Inspirations

Dear Beloved Friends,

I hope this message finds you all in good spirits. Today, I’m thrilled to dive into the exciting topic of holiday entertaining – an art form that I’m absolutely passionate about! While I could easily talk for hours about this subject, I’ll try to keep it concise for now.

Is it just me, or do you find yourself eagerly planning your next event or gathering from the moment you know it’s on the horizon? Even if the date is six months away, I can’t help but envision the details: the perfect color scheme, the ideal ambiance that I want to create in my mind’s eye, and the mood I hope to set for all our guests to enjoy.

As you embark on the journey of planning, it’s essential to ask yourself some guiding questions. Do you envision a tranquil and formal dinner with close friends, or perhaps a more laid-back gathering with soft background music, fostering lively conversations? These considerations become especially important when you have first-time guests, as we all know how silence can sometimes lead to a touch of awkwardness at gatherings.front porch

When it comes to preparing the meal, it’s crucial to be well-acquainted with your guests’ food preferences and dietary restrictions. Always inquire about food allergies, as this information can be a lifesaver when you need to prepare food in advance. Personally, I’m not one to procrastinate and prefer to have everything well-organized ahead of time.

And let’s not forget a crucial tip for any host or hostess – having essentials like Benadryl in your medicine cabinet can be a literal lifesaver! Imagine a scenario where a guest unknowingly has an allergic reaction to something as innocuous as cinnamon sticks at your holiday party. In my house, we take every precaution to ensure our guests’ safety and well-being.

My dear friends, holiday entertaining is an art that we can all master with a bit of thoughtfulness, planning, and consideration for our guests. Let’s create unforgettable moments together!

Providing a warm and gracious Southern welcome is something I hold dear. I believe in creating an atmosphere where our guests feel cherished from the moment they step onto our property to the instant they bid their farewells. This sense of warmth and inclusivity begins right at our front door.

Whether you reside in a grand two-story farmhouse, a charming barndominium, or even a cozy tiny home, there’s an art to being an exceptional host or hostess. Being a Southern girl at heart, I take immense pride in the tradition of Southern hospitality, and I’m sure many of you can relate to the sentiment.

In my Southern upbringing, it’s all about doing things in a way that makes guests feel truly special. The magic begins with that initial greeting at the front door, and it extends throughout the entire visit. Southern hospitality isn’t confined to a specific type of dwelling; it’s a state of mind and a way of life.

Now, I must admit that I’m a devoted user of the word “y’all.” It’s a quintessentially Southern phrase that brings a certain charm to our conversations. Of course, not everyone in the South embraces this colloquialism, but for me, it’s a cherished part of my Southern identity, and I find it adds a touch of warmth and familiarity to any gathering.

So, whether you’re hosting in a sprawling Southern mansion or a cozy cottage, remember that the essence of Southern hospitality is all about making every guest feel cherished, valued, and right at home. Y’all know what I mean, don’t you?

fresh flowers in kitchen island

It’s all in the vibes. I love to add fresh flowers in my home or greenery to my front door basket, it brings a bit of the outdoors inside. Here’s a secret for you, just before guests arrive, I add a touch of room spray to my front door hanging basket; essential oil blends work well too and are half the cost of room spray! So, when my guests open the front door, (because guests let themselves in, around here) the breeze pulls scent right into your home, giving them that welcoming aroma that they will associate with your house. It is a proven fact that certain smells trigger that “feel good” emotion in people’s bodies and I always want my guests to have that good feeling of comfort when they step foot through my door!

Your front porch serves as the gateway to your home, and it’s the very first impression that your guests receive. Fortunately, creating an inviting front porch and door area doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. Let’s explore some creative and budget-friendly ways to make your front porch shine.

One effective technique is to start with a charming rug placed right at your front door. I’m a fan of beginning with an oversized rug as the base and then building layers of decoration upon it. While you can certainly opt for a smaller doormat featuring a special message to mark the occasion, it’s the act of layering that truly sets the stage. It’s not a common sight, but when my friends see my layered front porch rugs, they often exclaim, “I would have never thought to do that!”

For the top layer, a simple mat with a welcoming message like “Welcome” or “Hello” works beautifully. Just ensure that the bottom rug is large enough to accommodate a few layers on top. To further enhance the coziness and aesthetics of your porch, consider adding some plush pillows to your porch swing or chairs. Don’t forget to have a throw blanket readily available in a decorative basket.

Here’s a thoughtful touch that your guests will appreciate: hang a throw blanket on the back of your swing. These small gestures go a long way in ensuring your guests’ comfort and enjoyment because it’s often the little things that leave a lasting impression.

Of course, when personalizing your front porch, take into account the weather, the time of day, and the season. After all, you won’t find me outside on the porch during the chilly winter months! By tailoring your front porch decor to suit the occasion and conditions, you create a welcoming and memorable entrance for your guests to cherish.

kitchen island

Hold onto your seat, Becky, because here comes another nugget of wisdom: the key to successful hosting is not to overdo it and, most importantly, to be yourself. We’ve all stepped into homes where every nook and cranny seemed to scream “overdone,” instantly rendering us uncomfortable and overwhelmed. Trust me, that’s not the atmosphere you want to create for your guests. So, let’s take a moment to reflect on those times when you felt similarly uncomfortable and what contributed to that feeling.

Picture this: you enter someone’s home, and the first thing they ask is for you to remove your shoes. It can be a bit awkward, can’t it? While maintaining a clean environment is essential, there’s a balance to strike. After all, nothing beats the comfort of sinking into a well-cushioned chair or sharing hearty laughter with friends. These simple pleasures are what truly etch the fondest memories.

Now, here’s a real-life story for you: someone once sat down at one of my gatherings and, you won’t believe it, broke a chair! It happens, and when it does, don’t let it ruffle your feathers. Just brush it off with a smile and reassure them that it’s replaceable. After all, it’s the people and the moments that matter most.

I hope you’ve found these insights and tips helpful for your upcoming holiday gatherings. Remember, the heart of entertaining lies in being yourself, providing comfortable seating, and fostering an atmosphere filled with joy and laughter. So go ahead, add a dash of these ideas to your next gathering, and here’s to creating cherished memories with your dear friends.

Wishing you the happiest of times as you embark on your entertaining journey,

Warmest regards

Arlene Golladay
Arlene Golladay
Arlene's home has captured the hearts of thousands of followers around the world as she shares the cozy cottage farmhouse her and her husband built themselves.
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