The Host Takes the Corner: The Warmth of Connection and Friendship on NYE!

Hospitality is not just a potluck dish. It’s about relating to people on a deeper level in a way that reflects your life and style while forming stronger bonds. Hospitality happens over real meals that are cooked by real people, and draws people from the cold world of isolation and into the warmth of connection and friendship. – The Reluctant Entertainer

Living in isolation really hinders hospitality. In fact, it’s just not a part of “true” hospitality. It’s not an aspect of bringing a group together or creating intimacy within a group.

Let me tell you a little story …

Last Friday night we attended our friend’s New Year’s Eve party, along with our kids, and we had a blast. It was a large group, so when I walked in and eyed the gorgeous table, I asked why the “loner” place setting sitting off to the side.

The table only held 20 comfortably and 21 adults were coming, so the host decided he’d sit off to the side and “lead the group” (you know, keep the night flowing — food, drinks, conversation). Sort of like a director or a master of ceremonies.

I was happy I got a quick picture of this loner setting, because it didn’t last on its own for long.

But let’s start with the sparkling, stunning table setting – the beginning of a beautiful night with friends and food and dancing and fun. It was the best New Year’s Eve party … Out with the old — in with the new!

My friend Michelle, who’s the hostess with the mostess, went to the clearance table at Pier 1 and picked up little pink piggies and look how her table came together? Whoever knew piggies could be so elegant?

Many candles are a must!

Friends make for good times.

The men did the cooking.

Beautiful girls mingling in the kitchen.

Serious dancing end of the night.

Back to the isolated place setting.

When I saw this, I knew it would not last for long.

Sure enough, as we all sat down, we pulled Craig in.

Pull up a chair.
Move on in.
We don’t want you to be left out.
We”ll make room for you.

We squeezed tighter together, not caring if we had room to breath, and we made him a part of the group (as Craig took the corner!). Only then did it feel right.

On this snowy night, into the warmth of connection and friendship, another hospitable moment was etched deep into our minds and souls. A night like this won’t be repeated for another year, and even then, it won’t be quite the same.

I’d love to hear how you celebrated NYE — if you had a sit-down dinner, or a more casual style meal, maybe you attended a party, or, were you in bed snoring by the time the clock said 12:01 am?

I’ll be sharing my husband’s incredible Spanish Bean recipe in a future post. It was a killer dish. Actually, all the men’s dishes were amazing as we put away some serious Spanish food – the main dish being Craig’s Paella. Fabulous!

14 comments on “The Host Takes the Corner: The Warmth of Connection and Friendship on NYE!”

  1. Pingback: Are Chargers Essential to Setting a Pretty Table? | Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  2. Pingback: Paul’s Bush’s Spanish White Beans & Swiss Chard: A Men’s Dinner Club Dish — Reluctant Entertainer

  3. What a stunning party, love the decorations & effort they went to, its so worth it when the host goes the extra mile & creates a fabulous atmosphere like this. NYE for us was spent at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant in Melbourne, we had a great time, fabulous way to see in the new decade :)

  4. Wow what a pretty table!!!! We spent the evening with a small group of friends at our wonderful, best friends home The Partida’s ( Sandy you know Tami (Jones) Partida. We have spent the last 22 New Year’s Eve’s with them and it would not be the same if we did something else. We always do appetizers and snack foods, everyone brings something to share and we all laugh and visit the night away. We had other friends drop by, including our son and his wife, and our newly single son, so our cup was full. And to cap the night off it began to snow…. and we do not get snow in the Redding, California area very often. We left the Partida’s home at 1 am and began to drive home…. this trip takes us usually 35 minutes as we live 30 miles to the West of them. As we drove the home we realized that it snowed a bit more out our way, and they had not plowed the road yet. So we capped our evening off with a very stressful drive home in beautiful snow. As we drove into our driveway and saw the depth of the snow and yes I got out my tape measure, and found that we had 7 inches, so pretty. Sherrie and I opened up the drapes on our sliding glass door and sat and watched our little part of the world covered in a white blanket, and were in awe……. as we were starting a New Year, God showed us a wonderful white, blanket of perfection, reminding us of the possibilities for this New Year!!!!
    Blessings to you and yours, and make 2011 the best year ever!
    Curtis & Sherrie

  5. We got together with one other couple – our besties – as we have been doing every NYE for – Oh – about 15 years now. We alternate houses every year. We keep starting earlier & earlier because it always seems like the night just flies by. We got there at 2:30 in the afternoon this year & stayed till 1am! Because we were going to have a nice long evening together, we went for Tappas…goat cheese & onion tart, stuffed clams, crab cakes, smoked salmon & mustard sauce on pita triangles, beef kabobs cooked in the fireplace and ending with apple slices (which had been soaked in brandy & & cooked in the fireplace too) over vanilla ice cream! We just had little portions of each…but what a feast it was! The four of us sat around the fireplace all afternoon & evening, chit-chatting and savoring both the food & our friendship, while TWENTY kids (late teens & early twenties) hung out in the family room upstairs. We joined them to watch the ball drop.

  6. What a lovely evening you’ve had! :) Yes, please share the recipe of Spanish Bean, sounds delicious..
    We were home this NYE due to my flu :) I still haven’t recovered and it is so boring to be in bed all the time, but apart from that it was nice being home with my husband, having a lovely dinner and welcoming 2011 together in peace.

  7. What a gorgeous table setting!! Sounds like a beautiful night of friends and food. Cute story too…love that you all “pulled” him in :)

  8. You caught me! I was in bed snoring, did you hear me clear up in Oregon?

    We did have three friends over for brunch on New Years Day tho. Quiche and salad along with some home made bread. Very simple, very easy. We toasted the New Year with Mimosa’s and enjoyed the companionship.


  9. Gorgeous piggies!
    I love the mixed age parties — so very important and (sadly) so very rare.

  10. I went out for the first NYE in YEARS… What was billed as a party for our condo community turned out to be a get together of me and two other residents and their hubbs….. I really took a lot of time to get the dishes right and the presentations right and then took them in to a table of a couple of simple or store bought treats and loads of chips. I am over the disappointment now, but was a little miffed at the time at the attention I gave to what I took. BREATHE KIM BREATHE!!!

  11. we just stayed home with our little family and let the kids stay up late. i took a few hours OFF-mom-duty, which i haven’t honestly had since WAY before Christmas. it was wonderful.
    I AM SO EXCITED! we were blessed to finally find a BIG dining table last week–our old one barely held six(just us!), and i am thinking we can squeeze as many as 12 easily around the new one!
    Happy New Year! It looks like the party was WONDERFUL.

  12. That looks fabulous…and I just love this post. It’s inspiring…as usual. :) We spent New Year’s Eve with family, and am always grateful to do that, as I’m not sure how long the kids will be wanting to spend this night with us. As well, we enjoy also spending it with our parents, and feel thankful that we are still able to do this.

    Happy New Year Sandy!

  13. What a beautiful party!! Everyone looks so happy and relaxed together. And that table! Whew! Gorgeous.

    We had a small get together on NYE.

  14. Oh Sandy this looks amazing. Beautiful table!!! And what an awesome group of friends you have…. I love when FAMILIES come together as friends. Happy New Year!!! Unfortunately, our plans were stopped in their tracks as a tummy bug descended on my sweet girl. But I look forward to hosting a great party next year! Have a super great start to your new week….

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