We partnered with Kristin Schell, blogger of The Turquoise Table. Check out her helpful hospitality tips to better connect with friends and neighbors in your own front yard.
When Hospitality Feels Hard
I love bringing people to the table. Cooking a delicious meal, setting a pretty table and even thinking through details like creating a festive playlist and determining seating arrangements will play a role in making everyone feel welcome. Opening up our home is one way I like to show friends and family how much I love them.
But, as busy mother of four, the reality is I spend more time in the minivan than I do in the kitchen. At this stage in my life, having people over can feel overwhelming and hard. Most days it’s a challenge to get the slow cooker plugged in for the next meal, much less think about hosting the next get-together.
Everyone I know is busy, too. Trying to coordinate schedules to have friends over feels impossible. There’s nothing worse than finally finding a free date on the calendar to host a get-together only to realize no one else can come.
Maybe you feel this way, too?
Longing for More
I crave long, lingering dinners at the table where conversation flows into the evening. But let’s be real, my friends and I have on-the-run conversations in the produce section of the grocery store. Or quick status updates via social media and texts.
Realizing life wasn’t going to slow down on it’s own, I decided I needed to rethink my definition of entertaining. There had to be a way to bring people together without all the fuss of hosting a formal party.
Desperate to come up with a way to slow down and connect with the people I love, I put an ordinary picnic table in my front yard, painted it turquoise (my favorite color!) and began inviting friends and neighbors to come hang out.
It worked! I’d send a text to a couple friends inviting them to pop by for a quick cup of coffee. As the concept of meeting at The Turquoise Table caught on, we became more creative and began hosting casual potluck suppers and bake sales for school projects.
A new concept of hospitality unfolded in our neighborhood, and before long The Turquoise Table led to a movement of Front Yard People—ordinary people who long to create community right where they live.
Friends and neighbors love the simplicity of meeting in the front yard. One friend calls the Turquoise Table the best hospitality hack of all times, “No need to clean the house, everyone is outside at the table!”
Hospitality always seems small when you hold it in your hands. It’s not until you let it go, released like an offering, that you see how extravagant it is.
Three Hospitality Tips to Connect in Your Own Front Yard
1. Keep it Simple Invite a friend over for coffee or tea. Start small and remember it’s not about what’s at the table, but who is at the table.
2. Be Spontaneous. Sometimes spur of the moment works best for everyone. A quick walk with a neighbor, a last minute lemonade stand with the kids, an impromptu happy hour after work.
3. Have fun! Your enthusiasm will be contagious. No need to overthink things or make them more complicated than they need to be. One of the most fun traditions in our neighborhood is Clean Out the Fridge Party. Bring what you’ve got!
If you really want to have some fun and connect with others in your neighborhood, join us for a 5-Day Front Yard People Challenge.
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