Party Favors? Come On!!

While flying to Little Rock to be a part of a Family Life radio show with my husband, I read in one of my favorite magazines an article about simplifying summer parties, to make them high on style but low on stress.

I loved the pictures and the layout of the table settings, but my mind couldn’t help but wonder if these kinds of stories totally turn OFF the Reluctant Entertainer from doing any kind of hostessing?

Simple” to this magazine was: party favors or paper bamboo fans for each guest; personalized recipe cards for each guest to take the recipes served on that night home with them; and a basket of flip-flops so the guests’ heels wouldn’t snag on the brick patio or in the grass.

Who can manage all of those details? Just thinking about them can be an overwhelming thought!

Now don’t get me wrong. I am all for budget-friendly settings (see Commandment #6) and making sure my guests are comfortable, by offering a jacket on a cool evening, or even providing several blankets for use by the outdoor fire.

But for anyone reluctant to entertain in the first place, these articles on “ease” and “simplicity” do not eliminate uncertainty! In fact, they can make entertaining much more exhausting and stressful.

One rare evening we had 3 other couples over and were relaxing and enjoying our meal. Toward the end of the evening I pulled out some special foot massage oil, and gave a few of my girlfriends a foot rub! We were all together, the moment was right; it was an act of love that was very spontaneous.

Or, how about a hand massage with the person sitting next to you?

Paul and I have decided that instead of sending our guests home with a party favor, our goal is to offer them reprieve from the daily grind of life. That returning to their lives, after a meal at our home, should leave them refreshed.

That is our gift to our guests. Along with some good food & conversation!

Forget the party favors!

Feel the “Aha!” moment!

(Photos: calla lilies transplanted to our yard from Jeannie's garden - see post Goodness Grows)

(And, last week was a HUGE give-a-way week in blogland and I won two things! A "Soupmix Cookbook" from Amy's blog, and a pound of CHOCOLATE taffy from Melissa's! I'm a lucky girl :)


tonia said...

"our goal is to offer them reprieve from the daily grind of life."

Just beautiful, and I agree. There are far too many opportunities for spending money and/or accumulating "favors"...how much better to serve and give the things that are truly valuable: out time and love, and the peace of our Father.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I agree with you completely!

Jami said...

You are right on...how special that your guests get to take with them a piece of your hearts instead of a bamboo fan or another well meant trinket. We can purchase trinkets, but that kind of love for others is rare. Keep doing what you're doing and inspiring us obsess less and love more. :)

Nadine said...

I love this post. You are so right people are already a bit shy from entertaining...why add more stress to it. You and your husband have a great outlook and a hand or foot massage is absolutely too sweet.

ellen b said...

I think I should invite you and your oil to my next party. :)
Great thoughts...

Jenster said...

Boy would I love to be one of your guests!! :o)

I know exactly where in Little Rock you went! I lived outside of Little Rock for 18 years and we attended Fellowship Bible Church - a WONDERFUL church that was started by several people including Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

Your simple comment made me homesick! lol

Christi said...

What a beautiful thought! I am definitely a reluctant entertainer - so I'm going to read around awhile and get some encouragement from you!

linda t said...

Totally right on Sandy!
You are inspiring sooo many to just keep it simple. You are freeing so many to be creative with what they already have. What a gift you are to me!
And congrats on your winnings! Way cool!

momrn2 said...

Why is it we tend to make entertaining so hard thinking we need all the "extra's"... when really... we just need to sit back and give of what we have... ourselves.

This was a wonderful post!!!! (But then what's new?) :-)

And congrats on your wins! How fun that you have more than one!!

Kerry said...

Thanks for the reminder that simplicity is often times best.

HeatherJ said...

I agree. I think this is why a lot of us are afraid to entertain. We have these silly expectations to live up to. Kid party favors have gotten a little out of control lately too.

RealEstateGirl said...

I love this post Sandy! I baked a pie for a neighbors the other day...I will blog about it soon. My first small step toward hospitality!

Much love!

GiBee said...

I have to admit ... I love a good party favor (I'm Martha Stewart-ish in that aspect), but they certainly have their place, and not every party or get-together warrants one!

I totally agree with you, and think that the offering of a reprieve to every day life is the best gift of all!

Lovella said...

People just love to be invited. Sometimes I like to do it up a bit but other times, the spur of the moment times, it all about relaxing with friends.
Tommorow night it will be Burgers, salad and home made ice cream . .that's it. ( I told them and they still wanted to come . .smile)

Barb said...

That's encouraging, cuz I just invited people for Friday lunch, on the spur of the moment--ack!
I think those beautiful hostessy magazines appeal to us becuz we like things to look pretty and orderly. But the creation of it all is a different issue altogether, unless you're a naturally creative and orderly person!

ValleyGirl said...

I'm so thankful that I found your blog. I am truly the definition of a reluctant entertainer and I've noticed in magazines, too, that they're definition of "simple" overwhelms me. I love it that I have your blog to help me focus on what's really important when entertaining and that truly simple things can be beautiful, thoughtful examples of wonderfully heartfelt hospitality, too.

Have I mentioned yet how much I love your blog?!