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

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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!