Easy Entertaining Even With an Imperfect Table

Last week as I sent my son out to set the patio table for a barbeque with a few friends, I noticed one thing that in past years I would have fixed right away, even if it meant me taking everything off the table, and then resetting it.

Do you see anything a little different here?

Yes, the tablecloth was wrong side up with the tag showing!

I decided not to make it right, because it really didn’t matter.

I can honestly say that looking back over years of entertaining, I fussed too much about things that are ridiculous to even think about now. Things that others would never have noticed–only my critical eye.

It’s not only a lesson for me, but for my kids, that “things don’t have to be perfect” in order to enjoy your guests.

I left the tablecloth exactly how it was. I didn’t point it out and he never knew.

I grabbed a few flowers to set in the center of the table, including a flower from the chives.

We enjoyed a fantastic cool spring tiki-lit night, good food, great friends … and a imperfect table.

Do you struggle with perfectionism? How do you think it affects your children?

17 comments on “Easy Entertaining Even With an Imperfect Table”

  1. Pingback: Hosting a Harry and David Blogger Dinner in my Backyard | reluctantentertainer.com Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  2. It’s a perfect table setting with those beautiful dogwood blooms!

  3. Sandy, I really enjoy your blog and have learned a lot. Recently, I was entertaining family. The week of the BBQ was not a good week and I did not have the proper time to prep as I had planned. I had wanted a “cutesy” red and white BBQ. I considered canceling the whole thing but thought about the philosophy I’ve learned from your blog and decided to go ahead with the get together even though it wouldn’t be “perfect”. I’m SO glad I did. No one even knew my original plan and everyone had a great time.

    Thanks so much!

  4. Hi Sandy,
    Still loving your blog! Please keep the gardening posts coming, we are loving it! Two quick questons? Bugs? How do you keep bugs & pests at bay in your garden? Also we are going to be flying into Medford the middle of June and be there just for a 1/2 day before heading to a wedding in Northern California. Does Jackson & Perkins have a test garden in Medford that we could check out or are there any sights we should not miss before he head to Ashland and California? Thanks so much for all the inspiration and reminding us the simple life doesn’t have to be isolating, boring or complicated.

  5. Great post Sandy! I am definitely not a perfectionist but still have had to learn that it doesn’t always have to be done my way!

  6. I confess I have struggled with this perfection burden all my adult life! I especially agonize over decorations, and after many many times when my guests did not even notice that there were decorations, I decided to heck with it! Let’s just be regular! It’s not as much fun for me, because that’s where I really like to focus, but making people feel welcomed and relaxed is so much more important in the big picture! Priorities ladies!

  7. I love this because it is so true. I used to check my kids rooms before company would come…and I decided I would just trust their judgement. Our company was coming to see us…not their rooms. Also, I wanted them to know things don’t have to be perfect to invite company into our home…in fact, our best visits have been in the middle of home remodeling and pb and j sandwiches!

  8. That is so what I am like, have struggled with family dinners the older I get. If too many people are in the kitchen I get very nervous and want everything to be perfect. Thanks for the article!

  9. Sandy, I love this post! I am always fighting against perfectionism. Such a waste of time and energy. Thank you for your reminder of what is really important!

  10. Sandy, I love that you are constantly reminding us of imperfection – since we know only ONE who is truly perfect! I love that you show us in your own home how things are imperfect! I am not a perfectionist, but even I have been too fussy at times. I, too, have been less and less worried about how things appear. There are so many blog sites with party misc. that everything looks perfect and it’s easy to feel intimidated by that. You are always an encouragement :)

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  11. I have struggled with perfectionism over the years and what’s funny about it is how elusive it really is and how much attention I’ve spent on trying to attain it instead of what really matters; PEOPLE.
    I’ve come to realize that it’s just smoke and mirrors – and keeping “airs” is not being real.
    When I’m focused on perfection I’m not only unrealistic but demanding and critical. How is that helpful to anyone in any way? The last thing I want is to be a control freak.
    Thank you for this post Sandy. It keeps me moving in the right direction…
    We’re having family over on Memorial Day and I have to be honest, I’ve started “sweatin'” some of the details just a little too much! So, I’m giving it to God and letting go. Planning is one thing but, obsessing is quite the other!
    Thanks again for the reminder! You inspire me!

  12. A good reminder to not get all wrapped up in the presentation and not the guests. Sometimes I have them make changes; sometimes not. Why do I? Training and teaching in a word. both in the skill and the philosophy. If it is a formal table I demonstrate adn then we check it out together. There is something special about a formal table. We have all the elements and I sure don’t believe in leaving them in the china cabinet or use only for guests.
    Happy Memorial Weekend!

  13. can i just affirm your choice? i think it’s so fantastic that your children know how to set a table and are learning to entertain! i also grew up in a family where we entertained regularly – sometimes stress-free, sometimes not. but my parents taught us the ‘tricks’ of a quick kitchen clean up and heading outside whenever possible! your son knowing how to entertain, is so much more important than if the table cloth was right side up! and it’s good to know it’s reversible! haha

  14. i’m staring at new patio furniture that is screaming with tags that haven’t been cut off. and it was like that last week when we threw our first pool party of the season. Saw it, ignored it, and i don’t think it mattered one stinkin bit! :) LOVE YOU SANDY!

  15. I probably would have just cut the tag off. LOL! The only person that probably would have noticed would be my BFF. But don’t tell her I told you that. Ha! Ha!

    • Can I just say, I love your book, your blog, and your AWESOME attitude toward LIFE? With 5 children, I struggled with CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). I relaxed my attitude 10 years ago after a brush with death. Suddenly in a blink, all 5 are grown up and moving out…and I am thankful for the realization that things DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT. Life happens and the times spent with family and friends are the most important.

  16. I love this post, because I can totally relate to that moment when I see something goofy my kids did and then I go through the “Hm, should I fix it, or let it be?” It’s usually better when I just let it be!

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