Do you have the gift of hospitality and enjoy having your home filled with life and laughter? Would you like to enjoy the company of your friends but fear all the work and preparation it would take? Then learn from our years of experience having potluck meals. It’s an easy way to gather friends and family and connect in fellowship with one another. We send out an Evite invitation with a theme such as A Time to be Thankful or Celebrate Spring. Then we ask our guests to bring their own meat (sometimes we provide it) and a dish to pass. We provide Ice Tea, lemonade, pop and coffee.
Next, we fire up the grill and wait for the scrumptious dishes to arrive. It’s always exciting to see what the guests will bring. We would never have time to prepare the food that comes through the door. It doesn’t matter who does or doesn’t show up. When they arrive, I give everyone a name tag so they don’t have to remember each other’s names. But most importantly, on the name tag include something about that person. Here are examples of what I write on them with their permission: Hart, the gardener, Joe, the biker, Carol, the Super Mom, Rick, the guitar player, Helga, the reader and Rachel, the nutritionist, This immediately gives strangers a chance to strike up a conversation. If someone looks disengaged, I ask them to help me set up and keep up a lively conversation with them about our various guests.
For summer potlucks, have simple games for people to play. Bean toss, badminton and bocce ball are a few of our favorites. We also enjoy having a Music Fest where we will ask people to bring guitars, keyboards and noise makers. We provide words for songs ranging from show tunes like The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof and the Beatles to hymns like Amazing Grace and Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory. Fortunately, we have a piano and guitar but it’s not essential. Your guests will enjoy sharing their talents with other like-minded music-lovers. But music is not the only way to connect. They may have a poem, a favorite Bible verse, and a mini-message or life experience they want to share. It’s kept short and focused.
An added benefit is that my husband will tackle unexpected house projects. One time, though, he re-sanded our wooden kitchen floor, stained it and put three coats of polyethylene on them. I couldn’t clean the house until the last day for fear of stirring up dust—–but now I have a beautiful, new floor.
For summer potlucks, don’t worry about cleaning the bedrooms or basement. Your guests will be outside enjoying your deck and the beautiful weather. Around Thanksgiving, we ask people to prepare a short three minutes talk about something they are grateful for. At Christmas, we gather around the piano and sing carols and enjoy delicious homemade cookies.
By following these simple steps, your gift of hospitality will be in full swing with little labor and cost. Your home will be filled with joy and laughter and your guests will be begging you to do it again. Now feel free to add your ideas to my blog entitled www.lifewithlarry.org.