Hip Holiday GIVEAWAY: Hip Hostess Apron and The RE Book!

Just in time for all that Christmas and New Year’s holiday baking and cooking, Debbie from The Hip Hostess and I are giving away her beautiful Hip Holiday Apron together with a copy of my new book, The Reluctant Entertainer.

What a great gift for yourself or for someone special this holiday season!

Debbie’s aprons are so beautiful. There’s nothing quite like the quality, in my opinion. (Did you know I’m wearing a beautiful HH pink apron on pg. 80 of The RE?) Today I want to share an excerpt with you from my book, one that might inspire you to “catch the spark,” to tie your Hip Hostess apron on, and to invite some friends over for some holiday cheer!

I believe that times are changing. The desire to resurrect the lost art of hospitality is growing, bringing people back to their roots and realizing what is missing in their lives: fellowship. Simple entertaining combined with some inspiration can create spiritual monuments in our lives. It not only gives us hope, but it teaches us the benefits of moving forward and not looking back. It’s a beautiful gift without a price tag … (page 14, The Reluctant Entertainer)

Here’s how to WIN! Comment and answer this question:

Do you struggle with hospitality or does it come natural to you? Or, do you look forward to opening your home this holiday season? (be honest now!)

Easy as pie (not really), easy as making cookies (nah), easy as a quick comment? YES!

Debbie and I really support each other’s work and mission. She believes in the RE message, and I believe in the beautiful quality of her product. We both think that hospitality is very important in our lives, and that our lives are richer when we think less of ourselves and give more to others.

Together we are delighted to offer this beautiful gift to one lucky winner – from our house to yours!

Love, Sandy and Debbie

Make sure and come back and tell us for an extra entry or two:

Facebook = 1 extra entry
Tweet = 1 extra entry
NEW follower of RE = 1 extra entry
Post on your blog = 1 extra entry

Good Luck. Contest closes Friday night, 12/10/10 at midnight.

Coming up on RE: 3 more posts on what a Progressive Dinner is like. $1 gifts for your daughter’s friends. How to Stencil a Memory at Christmastime. Some amazing recipes. And a few more giveaways. I love this time of year!

214 comments on “Hip Holiday GIVEAWAY: Hip Hostess Apron and The RE Book!”

  1. Hospitality comes naturally, but that certainly doesn’t mean I have it all mastered. I am so thankful God has put people in my life to learn how to do it better. And these aprons- DARLING!!!

  2. I love entertaining and welcome it any day. I do stress the day that our guests arrive because I think I thrive on drama. :o) I love cooking for people and making memories!

  3. I follow you on Facebook!

  4. I now am subscribed to RE!

  5. I LOVE opening our doors and entertaining family and friends. I think hospitality comes pretty naturally for me but I always reflect back after hosting an event or visit and think how I could have done it better! Someday I’ll have it mastered!

  6. I love having my friends over, but I have to confess that I get a little stressed out with the arrangements. I need to improve my hosting skills!

  7. “To everything there is a season…” and currently we have gotten out of a season of hospitality. Husband’s work schedule, my p/t work schedule, two teenagers’ schedules– have all contributed to this season of reluctant entertaining.
    We enjoy hosting friends and family, but somehow have managed to neglect this joyfilled aspect of fellowship.
    Thanks for the gentle reminder to make time for friends and re-open our home to them this holiday season.
    Great giveaway, too.

    • While I don’t work, our lives have gotten increasingly busier with church life and our both our girls busy, busy soccer schedules and lives. we have had to learn how to figure out still hosting people in our home with all these busy things going on. We usually reserve Sundays for those we want to get to know more, or that we don’t have over often, usually families. There are certain weeknights that we’ll have single friends and young adults over to eat whatever I happened to make for dinner and play a game possibly, or just visit. They tend to be a bit more flexible with time.

      I still love entertaining, it just needs much more thought these days!! Blessings to you.

  8. I love having people over, but I get a little too focused on all the details. I’m trying to do better and manage everything well.

  9. just started following your blog!

  10. I LOVE entertaining! I have a small house, so I usually try to keep it to small groups of people, but I absolutely love having people over to my home. =)
    kathy k.

  11. I LOVE entertaining! But it gets tricky since we’re living with my in-laws- so at the moment we’re not as hospitable as I’d like, but we’re headed to be missionaries in Uganda… at which point I’m sure I’ll have to be much more hospitable than I’d like :) Can’t wait!

  12. I must admit I stress over hospitality. We moved just about a year ago so to try to get to know people better we have been inviting them over. So I am getting more comfortable with hospitality.

  13. I enjoy entertaining, and it comes somewhat naturally. My problem is scheduling the time to have friends over.

  14. I love entertaining over the holidays. We go all out to decorate our home and love having our friends & family share in our many traditions.
    Last night we had our children over to decorate the tree and watching our granddaughter Emolyn ooh & aah over every single ornament was sheer delight. Seeing Christmas through her two year old eyes has given new meaning to the season.

  15. I love hospitality and am very comfortable with it. However, finding time seems to be my problem. Life gets in the way! I appreciate your gentle nudges.

  16. I am a happy subscriber. :-)

  17. I have hostess trepidation every time, but I am always glad I did it afterward.

  18. I believe I have the heart for hospitality, but in execution… I really flounder…. I have loved getting inspiration from your blog and book. Starting to see that my house size doesn’t really matter :)

  19. I love entertaining – I think it comes from watching my mother do it, effortlessly, for years.

  20. I look forward to opening my home during the holiday season. I like the “idea” of entertaining, but when it comes down to the people arriving I get really nervous and worry that they won’t have a good time.

    http://ashleyanderic.blogspot.com
    ashley dot hasty at gmail dot com

  21. I love hospitality. It comes natural for me. My homes is very, very small, but I have squeezed 12 people in my home before. I’m praying for a bigger a home so I can have people over more often. You’re an inspiration. I already bought your book, but if I win I’ll be passing in on to one of my reluctant entertainer friends! (But I’ll be keeping the apron!)

  22. I love this!! Of the two I’m a natural entertainer. I love to host and put together fun little get togethers…

  23. I’d like to say hospitality comes easy for me, but I always end up overwhelming myself. I worry too much- are the guests having fun, everyone ok, what do they need? I end up stressing myself out and not enjoying it as much as I should.

  24. I’m a new follower of RE! Can’t wait to start reading all of the wonderful ideas on here…

  25. I love having people in our home. Building relationships is so very important in todays culture. Love the apron!

  26. I tweeted!! @plumstars

  27. I would love love love one of these aprons! And your book too! Because I keep giving it away and I don’t have one for myself. LUv Ya, Sheila

  28. I absolutely LOVE hosting people at my home! I have wonderful memories of the holidays as a child. Between Christmas and the New Year, my parents would have family and/or friends over almost every night of that week. If we didn’t host anyone that night, we went to visit someone else! It was so much fun to spend time with my cousins and friends, with the adults distracted with each other in another room…unlimited soda, chips/dip, cheese/crackers, and cookies! Not to mention the exchanging of gifts! I have tried my best to give my daughters the same holiday memories! :)

  29. I struggle somewhat with having people over, but afterwards always think about how enjoyable that was. You have been encouragement to me, to just do it. Those aprons are pretty!

  30. Honestly, I struggle with it, not because I don’t want to have friends over, but maybe more just finding the time to do it. This is my first year of working, and by Friday night, I just long for a quiet night at home with my family. We do more entertaining in the summer when our schedules are looser and we can simply have someone over for a campfire and s’mores. But I have been learning a lot on your blog and am so thankful for your encouragement to open my home up more.

  31. I love entertaining and think I am pretty good at it. My mom has been a role model for this, so I learned from a pro! I am of the more laidback variety of hostess–if I stress I don’t think that is fun! I love having people over and I love cooking and I love entertaining!

  32. Do you struggle with hospitality or does it come natural to you? Or, do you look forward to opening your home this holiday season?

    Yes and no… i love it when everyone is here… get a bit stressed planning … :D LOVE the aprons!

  33. I have a real heart for hospitality. In today’s world, he biggest “hurdle” seems to be the busyness factor, so I’m slowly learning to be spontaneous (hard for me) and take advantage of the unexpected opportunities.

  34. I absolutely LOVE hosting family and friends for the Holidays! I have such wonderful childhood memories of Christmas week through New years. My parents would have friends/family over every night of the week. If we didn’t host a party, we’d visit someone else! It was so much fun to spend that time with my cousins and friends, while the adults were distracted with each other in another room…unlimited soda, chips/dip, cheese/crackers, homemade cookies! I have tried my best to create the same kind of memories for my daughters! :)

  35. No. I struggle. I’m a tense hostess, but I’m working on that. A lot less tense than I used to be. Perhaps, I should say I’m an evolving hostess. I have your book in e-book format, Sandy. It’s an inspiring read.

    You’ve been tweeted this morning.

    Cheers!

  36. I LOVE having family and friends over…but I do have a hard time feeling organized! I really wish we were more intentional about our hospitality. Need to work on that!

  37. I really love having people over and welcoming them into our home! I think I am good with hospitality, but could always improve. I am still trying to master enjoying the festivities while enterataining!

  38. I would love to entertain more I just don’t have that big a place to entertain. When I do entertain I do panic a bit wanting everything to be perfect.

  39. I do struggle with hospitality, I think because I’m always nervous people won’t turn up, and even if they said they would they are often late which my hubby gets rather annoyed at :( I’m still trying to host more often though.

  40. I have always been scared to entertain…felt somewhat insecure. My mother had the gift of hospitality and after she passed away in 2009 I realized I had always taken that for granted. I have one of her recipe books and some of her/our favorite holiday recipes are in that book (in her handwriting); I find myself making these more and more and “wanting” to share them with family/friends. Thanks for reminding me through your blog how important family traditions are and how important it is to open up our homes to those we love…the same way my mother always did.

  41. I definitely struggle with entertaining. I always feel like our home is too small, or we don’t have nice enough stuff. It’s silly, I know. My friends don’t come over to see my stuff. I’m getting better about it – but, you said to be honest! =)

  42. I re-tweeted your tweet! =)

  43. And…I’m working on a blog post for today, and will include info for your giveaway there as well. Thanks for the chance to win, Sandy!

  44. I LOVE having people over. I’m much more relaxed about casual get togethers than more formal ones ; )

  45. YES! I do struggle and stress with hospitality! Friends and family are welcome to my house, but I feel pressure when I’m entertaining because I want everything to be perfect, and I’m not good at cooking!

  46. The idea of entertaining isn’t hard for me, and the few times I do get to entertain it seems to go well. My problem is that I’m still a college student living at home, in a home that REALLY isn’t suited for people coming over, and I can’t change it because it’s my parents home and I just don’t feel comfortable entertaining there. That’s where entertaining is difficult for me and I dream of the day where I have my own place, whether it’s an apartment or a house.

  47. I might fuss about the details around hospitality, but not about making the effort. “Details will work out themselves out”, I remind myself. I am always thrilled at the prospect to entertain out of town guests, around the holidays or not. We live too far away from family to not look forward to such fellowship! I want to redeem every opportunity.

  48. I love to entertain and when it comes to asset group of family and friends, it comes naturally. My challenge is moving out of my comfort zone to include new groups of people and events that aren’t linked to specific occasions.

  49. Hospitality is not something that comes naturally to me. I like to have friends and family in my home, but the preparation and all the things that need to be done ahead of time cause me a lot of stress and I often am a grump when the event actually arrives.

  50. I really enjoy entertaining in my home, but I always struggle with what I will serve. Need more confidence in my cooking abilities. We are having a Christmas party tomorrow night, 30+ people, thankfully, everyone is bringing something!

  51. My husband and I both enjoy entertaining. In fact we are hosting our first “open house” “Christmas party” in our new home this week end. I’m sooo excited! The tree is up and looking so pretty. The lights are up outside (as much as I’m going to do.) I’m a little stressed… But thats ok. Most of the people that are coming are new aquaintances. A few I’ve never met. Let the entertaining began!

    Cheers! Oh… Now what should I wear???

  52. Entertaining does not come naturally to me. Which is probably why I always read your blog, to be inspired and learn how to practice hospitality. Slowly, I’m starting to get it. I invited another young family to join us for a pre-Christmas dinner. The wife in this same family is struggling in her kitchen because of mice issues and I actually made dinner twice this week for them so she wouldn’t have to deal with cooking in her kitchen which is currently being treated for the infestation. Checked out your book from the library and enjoyed it, would love to win a copy. Would also love to win an apron since I don’t have one and seem to be staining my shirts frequently these days. Thanks for the chance to win.

  53. Hospitality comes easy for me but I struggle with trying to make everything “perfect”.

  54. I love the entertaining, and when we have kids, I hope our home will be where they and their friends want to “hang out”. However, I can never relax when entertaining because I feel like everything needs to be perfect. I’m always worried something isn’t clean enough or decorated enough, etc. I’m working on it….

  55. I’m hospitable by nature (I learned from the best – my mom!). But I’m also rather introverted so it takes a lot of energy to get myself in gear and actually get people over to the house! Thanks for the chance to win :)

  56. Born and raised in the historic southern town of Camden, SC, hospitality comes naturally…I had to add in a plug for the Southern Belles out there :) But since my husband and I are only in our 20’s…the types of entertaining that come naturally to me aren’t always seen as “entertaining” by other people our age, many of whom are still interested in the bar/club scene. But we have fun anyway with the other young couples that we invite over regularly :)

  57. I love entertaining, I feel I do it well. The problem right now is we live in a tiny house that makes it very difficult to have extra people over. So I have not been entertaining as much, I miss it!!

  58. I struggle with it, I think I try to make things “perfect”. I need to just relax more and enjoy it more. I am working on it! :)
    ~Yvette

  59. I am a facebook follower. :)
    ~Yvette

  60. I LOVE any excuse to entertain! I once thought of starting a company named “The Tailgate Priss” just so I could run around and turn tacky tailgates into ones more like mine! I love details and being different, combining those two elements into a soiree’ makes me oh so giddy! Oh, and I have a crazy addiction to girlie aprons! :)

  61. Inviting others into my home comes very naturally, but actually knowing what to do does not. Conversation comes naturally, but I am not confident in my cooking….so I am generally really nervous about the meal. Also, I always make too much food because I am a poor judge of how much to make. I love hosting, but I wish I were more secure in my skills.

  62. It really comes naturally to me, I love it and I am passionate about opening my home, entertaining and making people feel welcomed and loved.

    Thanks for giving us all a chance to win!

  63. I love opening up my home for the holidays. This year, my husband and I are hosting an Advent Study every Sunday night of Advent. I am making two different kinds of soup and offering beverages, such as hot cider and Pomegrante 7-up. Attendees can bring a snack or dessert along if they want. The purpose is to take time to rest from the hectic holiday frenzy, and spend time remember the true meaning of Christmas with the fellowship of others.

  64. I don’t struggle with hospitality. I love having people over in our home. Maybe the only time Ive struggled was when I felt like money was too tight, but now I just delegate.

  65. Just posted it on my blog!!

  66. Steep competition for this fab giveaway! Normally I am festive and chipper this time of year, but this year my inner scrooge has come for a visit….I suspect because we are in-between houses, and AZ weather is not all that festive ..but I am mustering all my strength to remain merry and bright. I must admit I have been coveting Sandy’s book for some time, that would go a long way to adding a bit of holiday cheer….and one can never have too many hip aprons!

  67. Ooooo, pick me, PICK ME!! [jumping up and down, waving hand wildly!] I’d LOVE a copy of your book and I’m always up for a new apron!

  68. Just Facebooked about this as well. (Remember, pick me, PICK ME!!) :)

  69. I feel in my element when entertaining! I love everything about opening my home anytime, whether it be at the holidays, a patio get-to-gether, or trick-or-treat chili dinner. I love love love it!! Thanks for new ideas and inpiration!

  70. I thoroughly enjoy entertaining, and I’ve been doing it since I was in elementary school. I used to organize classroom parties (“you bring the rice krispie squares, she can bring some KoolAid, and I’ll bring the cookies…”). I even organized a surprise party for my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary when I was 16!!

    Love, love, love the apron!! I’d love to win the book too! Thanks for such a great giveaway.

  71. I really enjoy having people over and don’t do it nearly enough. Sometimes with budget constraints and four young kids it’s difficult. But it’s always worth it when we make the effort!

  72. I enjoy hosting a party, but lately I have been having the children of several friends over so that my friends are able to shop/get-things-done while kid free. This is rewarding to me, and my kids just love it! (plus I can get away with serving hot dogs and cookies!)
    I asked for your book for Christmas, but I still hope I win the giveaway. I will keep the apron and regift the book to a friend. : )

  73. I love the IDEA of hosting friends at my house, but I always end up FRETTING over the details: What to prepare, my bowl is chipped, maybe I’ll wait until my house looks better, I can’t measure up to so and so’s dinner and so on. By the time I get that perfect menu and my house looks great, it will be too late!

  74. I shared this giveaway on Facebook.

  75. I already follow your blog.

  76. I would have to say I fall in between. I enjoy opening my home and having friends over once they arrive, however, I am usually stressed trying to make everything “perfect” before they arrive. I continue to read your blog trying to break-free but old habits take time to break. Happy holidays.

  77. I love having people over. Love it. But I do have to remind myself about hospitality. My mom was not the most hospitable and we pretty much never had people over, so I didn’t learn it by watching it happen in my home. But I do recognize the issues (being overly critical of the presentation of my home which could impede hosting or enjoying the time, etc.). So I knowingly fight those issues and I think 9 times out of 10, it works! I will keep working on it. Your site has been such an encouragement!

  78. I love hosting events – holidays, birthdays, home shopping, and casual get togethers with friends. Some aspects of hospitality come easily, and others I have to train myself. I can handle preparing food and making my home presentable (although I am usually running around like a crazy person during the final hour…I need to organize my time a little better…). I still work on conversing easily and making people feel at ease and welcome. I am a tad bit shy. Thankfully I have an out going hubby who coaches me :) and usually gets the conversations going.

  79. I shared this giveaway on FB too!

  80. Perfectionism in the past has caused me to shun having friends over. However, through a deep desire to follow Him, enjoy my girlfriends on a more intimate level and just have fun, I’m on the road to recovery and had my first ladies tea on Sunday. BTW: it was fabulous.

  81. I tweeted at @janudlock. :)

  82. I enjoy entertaining, but I get very nervous and stressed out. I would like to entertain more often than I do. LOVE the Apron and the book sounds perfect. Please pick me!

    Moore79@gmail.com

  83. I follow you on Twitter

  84. posted your giveaway on my Facebook

  85. First…thank you BOTH for the chance to win two amazing gifts. Now for the honesty part…I actually have gone through both feelings with hospitality…loving it and begrudging it. I remember my mom had people over EVERY Sunday for dinner, and I loved setting the table for her, pouring the coffee for the guest before dessert was served…LOVED it. I swore I would be just like her when I grew up. ;-) I was…for awhile, but then for some reason it became daunting being(was seemed), like the only one that was doing it. So I started doing it less and less, but then I found I missed it, and I think I found my happy medium…to do it when the mood really strikes me, because that is really when I am a happy hostess.

  86. I totally struggle with hospitality! I am really intimidated by cooking for a large number (even 4!) folks. I wrote about it a little on my blog:

    http://lifeblessons.blogspot.com/2010/11/steps-toward-hospitality-creating.htmlc

  87. Hospitality comes naturally to me, however I struggle with making a date, following through and inviting. Therefore I do not do as much as I would like.

  88. I love the idea of having people over but struggle with the inertia of making it actually happen. I must need ton read your book!

  89. I love having people over, but feel very inadequate as a hostess. I would love to entertain people much more and feel more comfortable doing it!

  90. I just became a subscriber!

  91. Hospitality doesn’t come naturally to me, but I long to be better at it. I do host family parties of up to 30 regularly, but we are not so good about inviting friends and neighbors over. It is definitely a goal for me over the next couple of years to invite friends over more often. Thank you for your inspiration!

  92. My first post ever!! I love to entertain but find the best parties are the ones that are spontaneous. Husband calls from the dock with crab limits and a chippino party happens that night! Wine, friends and good eats with newpaper or a vinyl table cloth (’cause crab is messy good fun) it makes for a great time. It also makes the focus on the friends and food not how the table is decorated or the house cleaned. I love your blogs and LOVE these aprons! Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

  93. I enjoy entertaining and have a big holiday party every year at Christmas. I sometimes get bogged down in the details, but when person after person tells me how much they always look forward to the party and certain foods that always make an appearance, the work proves to be worthwhile.

  94. I tweeted…..

  95. my tweets post directly to facebook as well

  96. I never thought I was a “natural” at entertaining. I used to say I was not a nurturer, that’s why I never had houseplants, pets, or a husband! It took me 30 years to realize I *am* a nurturer, and I do like to entertain and make sure everyone has a good time!

    I’m hosting my first Christmas with my amazing boyfriend this year, and couldn’t be more excited!

  97. We love to entertain and have our friends over. I never have to worry if something goes wrong, we just make the best of it.

  98. For 2 1/2 years while we built our home, we lived with an older lady in our church. I did very little entertaining during that time and it was tough sometimes because I truly love to have people over. we’d maybe have one or two people over, but not often. I was so excited when we moved into our home because I was able to host again the way I wanted to

  99. I also tweeted about the giveaway. Thank you!

    @TXshoppegirl

  100. We love to entertain, and especially enjoy just the company of those whom we invite into our home. I read a lot about people stressing about their homes, their furniture, their children. Let me tell you we have entertained in a 800 square foot apartment, a 1100 square foot house, and our current home that is 1800 square feet, the purpose was always the same, to entertain people and enjoy thier company. We have always included our children in the entertaining and now that they are adults and on their own, they too entertain and open up their homes to their freinds. We all need each other, people connecting to REAL people not just sitting and typing at our computers. My wife and I would love to win, but even if we don’t I love this blog and the message that Sandy puts out there each day.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours
    Curtis & Sherrie

  101. For 2 1/2 years while we built our home, we lived with an older lady in our church. I did very little entertaining during that time and it was tough sometimes because I truly love to have people over. we’d maybe have one or two people over, but not often. I was so excited when we moved into our home because I was able to host again the way I wanted to

  102. I struggle with hospitality. My parents did not any kind of entertaining so I am learning the art on my own and through others. I feel reluctant to entertain but always am happy when I do, do it.

    Yes, always look forward to the holiday season and being that it is family that comes over, I don’t stress out as much. :)

  103. I was raised in a home where my folks taught me not to say “yes” but “maybe” to all social engagements, so as to always leave yourself “a way out”. Little by little I’ve begun to see that that sort of thinking, whether applied to others’ parties or the hosting of my own, really leaves one feeling isolated and insecure. Slowly over the years I’ve grown to say, “YES” and mean it – I want to commit to the event, commit to the friendship, jump in with both feet. Not leaving myself “a way out” but rather choosing to risk my own personal schedule (and what I thought was freedom) in exchange for real community. Even if it means a little bit of vulnerability mixed in there!

  104. I enjoy offering hospitality and opening our home to our friends for the holidays. Once I learned that everything doesn’t have to be perfect, it did become a lot easier! :)

  105. “Liked” you on Facebook… a lot. :o)

  106. I love throwing parties and having people over…I just have a bit of reluctance when they are staying more than a day. I know it sounds horrible, I just have trouble when they don’t leave :)

  107. I would like to pretend that hospitality comes easy. I can plan a great party in my head. This time of year though I don’t have the events I dream about. (cookie or ornament swap for kids friends, holiday dessert party, etc) I get to November and realize my days are limited with other events and activities planned. I also worry about logistics…house too small, carpet too dirty,etc. I know all great excuses. Maybe if I had the best book and a new cute apron….

  108. I struggle with perfectionism when being hospitable. Didn’t grow up with it modeled, but that’s no excuse. I do enjoy the opportunity when it’s thrust upon me and always ‘plan’ to open my home more.

  109. Hospitality comes “naturally” to me… Meaning my precious mother and grandmothers passed down a wonderful legacy to me that I am oh so grateful for! I may not be the world’s best cook (far from it, actually), and my house might not be picture-perfect, but I learned from the best that that’s not what hospitality is all about. It’s about having friends over spontaneously to watch “White Christmas” (which is just what we plan to do this season!) and play board games together. I can’t wait!

  110. I love having friends over! From planning the meal to shoving the last bit of clutter into the closet when the doorbell rings, I enjoy every bit! I bought my first apron this month for cookie making and will certianly need another as this one is very jingle bell-ish! I’d love to own the book as well. Thank you for the opportunity! :)

  111. This is my first visit to your blog and I am excited to subscribe. I am a reluctant entertainer.I love the cooking and preparations but not the housework. I do need and want to learn to extend hospitality beyond family and holidays.

  112. I just subscribed! I look forward to reading your posts.

  113. I struggle with hospitality. I’m getting better now that I’ve found your blog:) Thanks for all your help and encouragement!

  114. I’m weird. I always THINK I’m struggling with the process of putting together a fun gathering for family or
    friends, but everything always seems to come together somehow. I’m left thinking to myself, “Huh. How did I do that?”

  115. I tweeted about your giveaway!

  116. I love it, enjoy it and embrace! Would be even better in one of your darling aprons! Please enter me too!

  117. I love having get-togethers with friends. But I am by no means a natural host. I always find myself in a bit of a tizzy right before the guests are due to arrive. Once they are here – I’m fine. As long as I have all the food prepared ahead of time. I just found your blog and look forward reading it regularly. : )

  118. I’m now a happy follower. : )

  119. Sandy and Debbie, what a generous and lovely giveaway! You two rock!
    I love love love to entertain, but ever since we got our very large St. Bernard dog 4 years ago, having people over is a bit of a challenge. The fur factor around here is major and I really do have to vacuum like a crazy person before having people over. We love our pup so much but he definitely puts a kink in entertaining! That being said, Santa brought him and he brings us so much joy (and I don’t even consider myself a dog person.) He just requires a little more planning on my part.

  120. I love to open my home and have friends over to catch up and have time together. It has been very hard this year to do that because my husband has been out of town most of the year.

  121. I struggle with entertaining, but I love to have people over. I just seem to get too busy to enjoy spending time with the people while they are there. I need to either plan ahead more, or delegate more, or both.
    rsgrandinetti@yahoo(DOT)com

  122. Just found your book in the new books section at the library and love it! So I’m new here and joined your Facebook page, too!

    When I entertain, I love it BUT I don’t do it often because I stress so much in preparation. Here are the excuses that run through my head – my house is SO small I don’t have enough room, it’s not decorated the way I want it to be, my furniture has seen better days, I’ll have to clean for days, what foods will I serve (I have too many things I want to make), etc. etc. Your book inspired me to put aside most of this thinking, simplify and invite people into my home. Thanks for making this your focus and helping people like me!

  123. I love to have people in our home! However, the prep can cause stress…especially if you are a perfectionist by nature. Over the years, I have learned to keep things very simple and laugh and enjoy…after all, isn’t that what we want, our friends and family to just enjoy themselves. Thanks!

  124. I’m definitely a natural entertainer! I love it…throwing parties, hosting showers, planning weddings are all right up my alley. Even a simple dinner party gets just as much attention as a major extravaganza! I love it all!

    I’m so glad I found your blog (or should I say I’m glad it was pointed out to me)!!!

  125. I love getting together with friends and laughing, eating, and/or playing games. I so desperately want to have people over, but then I look around and start doubting if it’s a good idea. We live in a very small house, nothing very special and I slowly talk myself out of it. I’m trying to get past that now and start small with some fun themed ‘girls night’ ideas.

  126. I just recently found your blog and love it! I am SUCH the reluctant entertainer. I enjoy entertaining, but let my perfectionism get in the way of doing it often. I tend to make excuses such as my house isn’t decorated the way I want it, what if my guests don’t like what I serve, what if I mess up??? So, doubt wins out more than I like to admit. Thanks for your blog. I’ve put your book on my ‘wish list’.

  127. My husband and I LOVE to entertain! We find it pretty easy, but I always stress a bit too much.

  128. I am a follower of your blog via google reader.

  129. I “like” you on FB!

  130. I always enjoy your insight on simplicity and hospitality.

  131. I enjoy having people over but really stress myself out with trying to make the food and evening perfect.

  132. I love to entertain, both my friends and family. I just need to make more time for it! :)

  133. I LOVE having people over- we pull up the piano bench, or sit on the hearth… it’s my favorite thing to do.

    I shared this post on my Willow House FB page, Willow House with Melinda….
    THANKS!

  134. No. I struggle immensely. I am working on it but I am an extremely tense hostess. I love your book. Thank you for the inspiration.

  135. I “like” you on FB.

  136. I am a new subscriber.

  137. I especially enjoy Christmas and decorate throughout the house. (No rush to get it all up or down) Last Saturday evening I was very tired after decorating at church and home. It’s so rewarding to be part of the church decorating crew, and I like our home to be cozy and Christmasy for my husband and I. And of course for our grown kids and grandkids when they pop in. BUT I was wondering if maybe I was overdoing home a bit. I decorate like we’re having an Open House but we end up hardly being home during the Christmas season, let alone entertaining! In the midst of these thoughts I heard some activity outside. We opened the front door and there was a large group of young people gathered from our church, singing Christmas carols. There was even brass accompanyment! My husband said “I need some help! My wife just decorated our tree and was just commenting there was no one to see it! Will you come in and see our decorations?” About those Open Houses that don’t happen….it was wonderful! We had an impromptu Open House! One of the vans transporting the young people had gotten stuck along the way so there was some disposing of shoes at the front door. But, except for those really muddy shoes, we didn’t mind if shoes were on or off. And it didn’t matter that I actually wasn’t quite done decorating! And I certainly hadn’t stressed over the house cleaning! (Nice thing about low light and Christmas lights) It was a special Christmas 2010 memory.

  138. I always struggle ahead of time, but by the time the guests arrive, I feel instantly relaxed. I always wonder why I stressed so much…it is all about making the guests feel comfortable, not having the perfect serving pieces or matching place cards!

  139. I love to entertain..and hope to be able to do more in 2011. Happy Holidays and thank you.

  140. I always struggle ahead of time, but by the time the guests arrive, I feel instantly relaxed. I always wonder why I stressed so much…it is all about making the guests feel comfortable, not having the perfect serving pieces or matching wine glasses!

  141. Hi! I just found your site and I think it is wonderful! I would love to be entertaining this holiday season. Unfortunately we are in the process of relocating so it will just be a small family Christmas. I look forward to having my home full of friends and family next year.

  142. Though I would like to do better, I am not terribly comfortable and good about having people in my home. With two small children and a dog, I get wrapped up in worry about the house not being clean enough or stress about not having enough time to prepare all the food I want to prepare before people arrive. I am much more comfortable bringing dishes and helping with others when they have people over.

  143. Hospitality doesn’t come easy for me. I’m a good planner, but feel out of my comfort zone when getting everything ready on time (& cleaning the house too). I do it, but it’s not relaxing in advance. I do enjoy it while it is happening.

  144. I really enjoy people coming over to our home. Its the place I feel most comfortable in and love how relaxed our home is. I hope everyone that comes over feels relaxed as well.

  145. I like to have people over, but I also like my time with the family.

  146. I really enjoy entertaining!! Nothing fancy just enjoying great company!!

  147. I love entertaining in our home and am usually up for the challenge any day. We have our best friend coming for dinner tomorrow night and I am THRILLED. But for the week of Christmas this year I just want to be with my children and husband and not feel like at a certain time I have to have the meal ready. I feel the need to slow down and relax this year a little more and I am trying to listen to this calling inside myself. It is hard when you are used to hosting all the family events though!

  148. Easy as pie! I like making it a slightly special occasion by a fun dessert or snack, maybe learning a new game with friends. I’m glad I saw my mom practice a LOT of hospitality as I was growing up – monkey see, monkey do to an extent!

  149. I want to be comfortable with entertaining and plan to open our home more – practice makes perfect, right. We are opening our home for a couple of parties this year, hosting family and would like to also have a small get together of friends.

  150. I plan and organize a lot of meetings, lunches, cookie exchanges, etc where I’m employed and don’t seem to sweat that. But… when it comes to my own home, I let the busy-ness overtake me and think of great fun things to do with friends, but schedules keep everyone from getting together. I stress about having blended family over, too. So I guess I should say I struggle at home, but it comes natural at the office. As far as opening my home during the holidays, it’s always awkward having blended family over. I keep trying and hoping! I used to love the holidays and entertaining, so I get myself all worked up with the anticipation and the unmet expectations. I usually hide behind my apron, speaking of which yours is cute!!!! Does your book cover blended family gatherings? (adult children)

  151. Yes, this holiday I will struggle because we are remodeling the kitchen, and everything is turned upside down. We are making our living room the dining room(larger table for guests)
    Everything from the kitchen is piled in the dining room, but I hope to get at it soon after Christmas. The aprons are adorable, and would love your book.

  152. Hospitality is a struggle for me, but I’m committed to it. I think it’s important to open up our homes as a way of opening up our lives. So hang on. Here we go! :-)

  153. Honestly, I love the preparation and planning, but never enjoy the actual event as much. I think I don’t know when to stop with the prep and am always too tired, to enjoy the actual time together.

  154. New FB follower!

  155. I used to struggle with hospitality…big time. Not because I didn’t like people but because I just had no time and saw it as a huge burden. I hadn’t realized that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Lately this has changed…your blog was a big support : ) Now I have people over even if it’s just a spagetti and wine dinner. Thank you.

  156. I just started following you on FB.

  157. I struggle a little because I am not confident in my entertaining abilities at all. I used to help my mother and it was fun and wonderful, but can I do it on my own? I guess I won’t know until I try!

  158. I enjoy entertaining….especially during the holidays…..but would sometimes not having the house clean, holds me back. I love the planning, cooking, and having people in our home….if only I had a cleaning lady. :)

  159. I became a subscriber.

  160. I know I’m supposed to be opening my home to others. I recently held a brunch and ladies meeting for the wonderful women at my church. I am in the process of simplifying my life and decluttering so that entertaining and hospitality can take the forefront.
    Both of these items, RE book and an apron are on my wishlist. How wonderful it would be to win them both at the same time.

  161. Hospitatlity comes naturally through me, I think, because my mom did and still does it so beautifully. Would so love the book and beautfiul apron. Hope you continue to have a wonderful holiday season! God bless.

  162. I love to entertain! Being with our friends/family laughing and having a good time is one of life’s natural highs! I even enjoy setting the table; people always comment how its so pretty and they don’t even have place mats. Hard to say good bye to everyone when you have had a wonderful evening. The only struggles we encounter are cleaning the house (last week my husband caught me doing last minute dusting with the dog’s plush toy) and getting folks to commit/RSVP. That is a lost art.
    Hip Hostess aprons are SO adorable! A couple of co workers have them- I would LOVE one! Already following RE on FB!

  163. My husband and I enjoy entertaining very much! However our fixer-upper house in progress is sometimes hindering our ability to function as good hosts. Slowly but shurely the house is being finished and the invitations we extend are getting more frequent :)

  164. i hate it until the moment everyone gets into the house – then i love it! i just hate the prep work and anxiety that can come with having a house full of people!

  165. liked you on fb

  166. tweeted!

  167. I love hosting get-togethers at my home, my family, however does not! They say I stress too much and I’m too anal about how everything looks…I think they might be right! I put too much pressure on myself and sometimes it takes away from enjoying the time spent with friends and family. I think I want everything to be so great so that they will want to come back and visit us again. I live about an hour away from my family, so I feel like I have to make it worth their while to come. It is something I really have to work on!

  168. I love to entertain, but I do stress over wanting everything to be perfect. Once the guests arrive I tend to relax and just “Let it Be”
    I follow you on facebook and love reading your blog!!

  169. Entertaining does NOT come naturally or easily to me. I have decided that after missing out on years of fun times and memories due to waiting…..and waiting….for everything to be perfect that I will just DO IT! I invited some close friends over for a really fun and warm evening in November to jump start my decision. What a wonderful time we had! I plan on doing it again very soon to make up for lost time! Thank you, RE, for helping me come out of my comfort zone and into warm fellowship! :) I would LOVE to win your book and that darling apron!!

  170. I love to entertain. I just need to take that first step sometimes and pencil it in and call the friends == once it’s booked, I love to prepare to host.

  171. Even before getting married (at a pretty young age) I’ve loved entertaining. My problem has been keeping things within my budget and expectations low enough that I don’t turn into an awful stress-case. With a move to a small house and my husband starting his PhD program, a whole new set of struggles has come up (the budget is now nearly zero! And the house doesn’t work well for many people). But we’re learning to overcome!

  172. I love to have the kids and their friends for parties. I am more intimidated by my adult family members b/c they will find the little imperfections and kids just want to have fun – they do not care about toys in the living room or how messy the kids rooms are.

  173. Unfortunately, entertaining does not come naturally to me. My house needs a little updating and I worry because it’s not “perfect”. When it is all said and done, I’m so glad I did it.

  174. I follow you on Facebook.

  175. It is a gift that I am thankful for.

  176. I absolutely love having people in over the holiday season!! Christmas day for us has always been “the more the merrier”
    Hospitality is one of my gifts but I do struggle sometimes with the wanting everything to be “perfect”
    Love the Hip Hostess!!!

  177. Hospitality is very natural for me, as it is what I grew up with. My mother always had relatives over for a simple meal or coffee.

  178. I love having people over. Reading RE has inspired me to be more spontaneous lately & I’ve made 3 spur of the moment invitations in the last few days. Thanks Sandy.

  179. I absolutely love to entertain. BUT, I am ok with it all not being perfect, and know that it is more about the people feeling loved and cared for above what things I can do to impress them. With that said, I do love to find special touches if I have time – especially theme parties and stuff. I am more of a prepare everything beforehand and then when you are there it is there and you feel free to help yourself and go in my refrigerator and pantry. I don’t think to make sure you glass if full b/c I am talking and enjoying you. My husband notices the glasses are empty and stuff like that. He also cleans the dishes after parties, where I would let them sit until the next day. What a team!

  180. I really love to have people over but get terribly stressed out about it. Your book has helped me to see that it is really not about me and enjoy the process. Would love to win and pass on your book as a gift. I need an apron though!!

  181. I don’t look forward to hosting. It all seems overwhelming to me and that also makes me feel so guilty. However, I love having people here. I know that doesn’t make sense. It’s just that regular life is so full and doing meaningful holiday things seems hard to find time for.

  182. I guess it comes pretty naturally. I enjoy having people over. I live in a converted school and my unit used to be part of the auditorium so it has 18 foot ceilings, one window (5 feet by 16 feet) and lots of character. It’s been fun to decorate.

  183. I have to say that I struggle with hospitality. I am currently taking care of my Mom who is quite ill and infirm. We live in a block of flats which, if not exactly neglected, has never been ‘grand’ and, because of lack of funds, our 1-bedroom flat is shabby and sad-looking! Neither Mom or myself have ever ben gregarious and outgoing, either.

    However, recently I discovered the true value of hospitality. I am starting a parish lunch scheme at my church. The lunch would, I hope, take place once a month initially. With many people travelling quite some distance to Sunday services, we think it might make their trip that little bit easier and more pleasant. There is very little ‘infrastructure’ in my church but we will be able to make hot drinks and serve salads and sandwiches, initially (maybe some wine for non-drivers, too! ;-)

    So, while not being able to entertain at home, I hope I might be able to contribute, in some small way, to my parish opening itself up to the needs of those who travel, who are tired and needy.

    I wish you the best of luck with your books, blog and other endeavors. God bless! :-)

  184. I also have my blog feeds linked on my facebook page!

  185. I’m not wonderful at hosting though I’ve grown in leaps and bounds in the last few years and am trying to get better and more comfortable with it. I’m shy to begin with, so sometimes feel less than socially confident which carries over into my hosting abilities. We do plan to have some friends over this holiday season, and so far, I’m looking forward to it!

  186. I love entertaining and look forward to it!

  187. oh, I am trying, but hospitality in the area of people coming to my home, or even going to someone else’s home for a get together does not come to me easily. I actually feel like puking as the time gets closer. I have analyzed this to see what my issue is, but I can’t really figure out the reason. It must be just an extreme weirdness woven into my personality. My sweet husband talks me through it when we go to a social event, as we drive, and stays close. I try to focus on blessing others more than having fun myself. It is an accomplishment more than a party to me. My husband is completely the opposite of me in that he has ‘never met a stranger,’ loves being social, and I am so thankful God put us together. He is so wise.

  188. I think my biggest problem with hospitality is that I like more formal entertaining and I struggle to not have to have everything “perfect”. And I’m far from perfect! I want to learn to just welcome someone into my home and not worry that my labrador might have shedded hair after I swept.

  189. The act of hospitality–the planning, the preparing, etc.–comes pretty easily to me after watching my mom feed any number of people on any given day as workers and friends visited the farm I grew up on: nobody will ever know you only made a main dish for four and are stretching to serve eight when there are lots of extras like pickles and cheeses and different fruits to load onto their plates.

    But now that my husband and I live in a different state and live in town (which is kind of an adjustment for me), it’s harder to get feet under my table! I’m going to keep working at it though!

  190. It comes easy, it’s the money that’s harder to come by.

  191. I used to struggle with entertaining when I was younger and thought everything had to be perfect….the food, the house, the decor….you name it and I used to worry about it. As I grew older and figured out the “perfect” party was one when evryone felt comfortable and had a great time. That took the pressure off and I really began to enjoy my own parties.

  192. I absolutely love to fling my doors open and invite the world in to share this time of year with us! The more the merrier and my heart just sings! (can’t do that with my voice – eeewww) My home is easy & comfortable so people feel at ease, come early and leave late…..:o) I love to cook & I make incredible cakes/desserts so it’s not hard to fill my “dance card” for parties. I’m not perfect but what I don’t have I make up for in my honest to goodness enthusiasm.

  193. I would have to say that hospitality is my middle name. Yes, I’m good at it but it took awhile to get to this point. I love to cook for others and entertaining is the perfect outlet for that.

  194. For years I was always the hostess at the holidays, but since we’ve moved 4 hrs away from friends & family we travel back home for all the family festivities. We have had a Christmas Eve party in my Mother’s family for over 75 years and this year my son & his fiance are hosting the evening. It truly touches my heart that they are so excited to be hosting a family tradition and so happy that they are starting their lives together opening the door to entertaining in their own home. We’re all so blessed this year and I’m so very thankful.

  195. Both! I love it but struggle with it as well.

  196. I love entertaining. Hospitality, when not planned, is a bit more difficult.

  197. I feel like entertaining comes pretty naturally to me, but I am always looking for ways to make things look more elegant without too much effort. I love your ideas.

  198. I just don’t entertain! It does nothing but stress me out trying to make my house look a certain way…. I don’t like being like this I just don’t know any other way!

  199. HH aprons are SO pretty!

    I do enjoy entertaining but I don’t do it very often – baby #3 on the way has made me very tired.

  200. I used to struggle with entertaining. We lived in a house that was not guest friendly at all. I have always had a desire in my heart to have an open door to my friends and family but never had the home. Recently, we bought my childhood home from my parents and moved in. We have not lived here but a couple of months and have not had much company but I am excited to have more. I am hosting a group of girlfriends for a Christmas party and our family Christmas. I can’t wait! I have unpacked my Christmas china that has been in storage and never used and am ready to indulge!! My home will always have toys in the floor, thanks to my 2 beautiful girls and there will probably be laundry stacked in the chair folded or waiting to be folded and dirty dishes somewhere but there will always be life and laughter awaiting!

  201. I am new to your blog and may I say I love it!!!!

  202. I am a facebook follower!!

  203. I do really enjoy being hospitable and entertaining. However, I do get very flustered with all the last minute prep and fret more than I should.
    Lovely aprons.

  204. I love entertaining but if my planning was a little bit better I wouldn’t stress so much. The aprons are beautiful.

  205. I love to entertain & have family & friends in our home – especially during Christmas. I wouldn’t say it comes naturally: but, I definitely enjoy it.

    I LOVE the aprons & would be so excited to win a copy of your book!

  206. I truly love cooking, baking and entertaining. It’s the cleaning up after I could do without, LOL. Thanks!

  207. While I enjoy entertaining and bringing people into my home, I always feel a bit overwhelmed to do it during the holiday season. It could be the hectic pace that seems to surround this season, with the numerous invitations and obligations to attend. Or maybe it’s the need to stand apart from all those parties and obligations; to feel like my party shines.
    I really enjoy hosting parties during other seasons though. When I can relax with the planning and let it transpire over weeks. When I get to think about a recipe over and over until I’ve found the right flavors in my head. But especially when it all comes together and the planning is complete and my friends and family laugh and enjoy. The enjoyment that other’s take from all that planning and preparing makes every last minute of it really worthwhile and makes me want to set the date for the next event before the night is over.

  208. I really like to plan out having guests over. A last minute get together stresses me out. I really could use tips on entertaining.

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