A Cry for Help–I Don’t Want to Entertain Over the Holidays
The holidays are here, whether we like it or not. November is the month we start planning, getting dates on the calendar, inviting, thinking up menus, cooking, getting our houses ready for the holidays.
Are you excited or do you already feel burned out … and the festivities haven’t even begun?
A long-time follower of RE recently wrote to me, and in true honesty, I thanked her for being real. Real, because I know many of us dread the holidays and have the exact same feelings.
I’m not a reluctant entertainer by any means; in fact, I regularly offer to host gatherings at my house and throw a couple of big parties each year. However, I am frustrated.
I feel that in our group of friends, I am the ONLY one who actually hosts people. It seems as though everyone else has one excuse or another as to why they can’t have people over. So as a result, I am the one putting out quite a bit of money and time to host people, and I feel as though I receive nothing in return. I understand that the payoff for me should be that everyone has a great time, and I am happy when they do, but it’d be nice to not have to cram a lot of people into my smallish house once in awhile and deal with the setup, cleanup, and aftermath of spending a few hundred dollars to entertain.
Much of my frustration came about recently when I hosted a party. I didn’t get a chance to mingle as much as I had wanted and I ended up not enjoying myself at all–to the point where I’m not doing this again next year. Even with small get-togethers, we are friends with only one couple that reciprocates at all when it comes to entertaining. It’s nice to not have to do most of the work sometimes and to feel appreciated when we are invited to someone else’s house. But with most of our friends, we are either going out to a restaurant or meeting up at my house.
My husband and I wonder, are we just not on the “A” list and maybe some of our friends really are entertaining and they just don’t invite us? I don’t know how to reconcile my feelings about all of this. As we come upon the holiday season, I’d love to have a few couples over but then again, I don’t feel as though it should be up to me to host ALL THE TIME if we want to see each other. Ironically, my house is the smallest of all in our circle of friends, yet I’m always the hostess.
What do you think? Do I just need to get over myself and be grateful that people like to come to my house and that they end up having a good time, or am I a little justified in not wanting to always put out the expense and the work it takes to be a good hostess? Or is it something else all together?
I think people are just not entertaining like they should. I doubt there is an A list. I know people have judged me for having an A list, when in reality sometimes we just want to invite people over who inspire and lift others up, who are encouraging and know how to have a fun time. The other thing about A or B lists is that, in our minds, we build traditions. As in, this group comes together, and the next time, the same people should be invited.
I like to mix it up. That is what hospitality is all about. And it’s always rewarding to invite new people over. Life is about growing, building new relationships, expanding our horizons, and getting to know new people and what they are about.
It’s inspiring to invite new people over. It’s also comfortable to invite long-time friends over.
Signs of entertaining burnout:
You did not enjoy yourself when the guests left
You did too much
You didn’t delegate any of the dishes
You didn’t have a good attitude
You didn’t include your spouse’s opinion in the first place. Was he/she on board?
You’re resentful of the money spent
You’re resentful of no reciprocation
You’re inviting out of obligation, not because you want to form new relationships or stronger bonds
There’s nothing worse than bad feelings when you shut the door after the last guest leaves.
I could be judged on this answer, but make sure that if you’re feeling burn-out, the next time you should simplify, invite people you really want to be with, delegate so you don’t have to do it all, and that you do a heart check (again, my husband is my barometer).
The last time you entertained, how did you feel when your guests left?
I am at the age that if I can just get it together for my immediate family, I have really accomplished something. The other family members have many places to be and quite frankly, probably don’t give a hoot whether they come to my humble Christmas or not. All that fuss year after year, and now I am done. I had a good time hosting. I don’t regret it. I just can’t do it anymore.
I totally understand. When you are the one who ALWAYS has to host, pay for, and clean up before and after, that is NOT FUN FOR ME. I think guests (family or non family) should be able to realize that they should play a part in hosting. If they cannot host, they should pay towards the food–and should realize that the food is EXPENSIVE. A small side dish that maybe the host didn’t even need or want is NOT helpful. Contribute toward the main course AND bring a dish the host ASKS for if you can’t host the meal next time.
Reciprocation is a tough one! I always ask people to bring a specific item or dish to every dinner we host!
Like others i needed to hear this too… this hit on many of the emotions that i’ve felt AND felt guilty while dreading such of these gatherings. Bottom Line: I think i’ll always feel like i’m the ‘CHOSEN’ to ‘wo-man up’ & will always feel happy to just get through it the best way that i know how. Still Its comforting to know i’m NOT alone!
first, i’ll say that i come from the view of the non-entertainer. i don’t enjoy hosting and rarely have people over. my core group of friends consists of 9 ladies and we have had an annual girls sleepover for the past few years. recently, people have been puching for me to host the events, eventhough others are the “party planners” and voulnteer readily to host. i just don’t understand the thought of people inviting others to someone else’s home.
my suggestion to this letter is if you don’t want to host, then don’t host. it’s a s simple as that.
WOW, I needed this! I needed to hear that I wasn’t the only one struggling with a lack of reciprocity among my friends. I entertain alot, and enjoy it. Yet I honestly can not remember the last time someone had us over to THEIR house to eat THEIR food. Seriously. Can’t remember. I was wondering about the A list thing too, as we don’t have one. I invite everyone!
I think people don’t entertain like they used to, though they’re happy to only receive and never give. My solution has been to only entertain when I truly want to and am happy about it.
Wow! This post was excellent! I too have felt the same, especially over the last year.
We were entertaining a small group (rotating friends) at least twice a month and larger groups about every other month. My kids were hosting movie parties every week in the summer. I loved it and our house was always full. I love opening my home. I love feeding people. I love getting together with friends. If you are sick or just had a baby, I’m there to drop off a meal. But eventually you do start to feel worn down and feelings do start to get hurt when you are the only ones ever inviting.
I’m not saying I want an invite every time I open my home but it would be nice if an invitation was extended every once in awhile. Some have commented that their friends weren’t opening their homes at all. But it does hurt when you know your friends are inviting others (and each other) into their homes and it is never extended to you. It’s funny. Sometimes my friends will even come up to me and say ” Hey you haven’t had us over in awhile, when are you going to invite us over for dinner?” I always want to say ” Well, since you’ve been to my house the last 12 times, maybe it’s your turn.”
This is a constant battle that goes on in my heart. I know I have been called by God to exercise the gift of hospitality but that doesn’t mean that it is easy. One night I had been up battling my feelings all night. Not just for me but the hurt my kids have felt with the same issue of always being the ones to host and hardly ever being invited back. After a long night of prayer and crying i was getting ready for my day when all of the sudden my phone started blowing up with texts. Our friends (who happen to be one of the families that does reciprocate) had been reading in Proverbs 22 about a generous man, and decided to thank me for always showing hospitality to others. It warmed my heart, made me cry even more and encouraged me so much.
I have stepped back a little. We still open our home, just not as often and I still take meals over but we mostly spend time with the people who give back. I do miss the constant vibe of people in the home. But if you are only making with-drawls and no deposits are made eventually you have nothing.
That letter hit on a lot of things my husband and I have been feeling lately. We do tons of entertaining and we love it, but it is hard that we very rarely get invited to anyone else’s home. As a military spouse, my husband is gone about half of the time, and it gets difficult when the only time I eat with anyone other than my two young children while he is gone is if I invite people over and do it all myself.
However, I was so encouraged reading through all of these comments. It’s not about me, it’s about what the Lord can do through me in the lives of those around me. Having expectations of getting anything in return just leads to disappointment because I’m focusing on myself and not on the One worthy of my focus.
My husband has a long time friend we invited to dinner. He was a work friend so hubby went all out with the best wine, best bakery bread, fresh lobster. The couple came, had a great time, so when they said they would host us in a few weeks, hubby took them seriously. Of course, surprise, surprise, no invitation ever came. Now it is time for their annual holiday party and he does not only not want to go, but states he does not consider them the “great friends” he thought they were. I almost feel guilty for putting us out there like that and the results were that he doesn’t feel the same about this guy and his wife anymore.
While I find most invitations I receive are of the “pocketbook, Pampered Chef, Tupperware party” variety, I try to remember that line about entertaining angels unaware.