Listen, I talk to ALOT of you about your homes. I meet you in person. I talk to you on Twitter. You comment on Facebook. I know many of you are just not happy with how your home looks. Newsflash: I’m not either. My house is a hotmess right now. My kitchen is under construction. I hate the way we painted my dining room walls. I don’t want to keep my breakfast table for even another half a second. I can’t even find the bottom of the hall closet. There are things about my house that are just bugging the heck out of me. But, I’m normal. You’re normal.
And I know that since many of you don’t love your homes, that you don’t invite people over. And if I asked many of you un-inviters for a moment of transparency, you’d also tell me that you are lonely. And right now, around the holidays….. this is a critical topic to discuss because it’s a critically vulnerable time of year for many.
My friends, your house should NOT be a reason you don’t invite people over for the holidays. I want to free you from this thought.
I promise you, 89.7% of my clients, friends, neighbors and family wish their house was different in some way. Maybe the layout doesn’t work for a lot of people (this is us. When we have more than like 4 people over, there is a traffic jam in our kitchen). Maybe your furniture is from the 80’s and needs replaced. Maybe the “formal dining room” is currently functioning as a “formal play area” and you’re embarrassed by the Legos and dolls and blocks.
Whatever it is, MOST of us wish certain things were different about our homes.
I had a designer tell me once that there is an old Indian proverb that says “house done; man dies”. While I am not very educated on Indian proverbs….. I like that. Basically it means…. your house will never be done, so get over it. Lol. Love it.
I firmly believe that the enemy uses shame/embarrassment over our homes to prevent us from inviting people in. Because when we invite people in, relationships are formed. Friendships flourish. Conversations happen. Lives are changed. We were created for relationship and relationships that go on in our HOMES….. with shoes off, sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the sofa, are some of the most cherished and valued relationships of all. Sure, you can meet people for coffee…. but if you invite someone over to your HOME…. well, you’ve taken your relationship to 2nd base.
And the enemy hates that. He prefers we stay alone, segmented off, to ourselves, and lonely. Relationships scare him.
The enemy would like to keep us in bondage by convincing us that our house is too small or too dirty or too outdated-or too whatever. It’s one of his tactics to keep people away from relationships. And as much as I am obsessed with Pinterest, Pinterest does not help. Women are finding themselves comparing their brass 1990’s light fixtures and plaid hand me down sofas complete with baby spit up stains to the rooms they are seeing on Pinterest. I promise you ladies…. Pinterest pictures are an illusion. Most of the pictures and rooms you see are being staged with great lighting and perfectly fluffed pillows and you know no one REALLY lives like that, right? Do not deter from inviting because of the comparison game. Don’t compare your home to your Pinterest pins or to your best friend’s house or to your sister in laws decor or whatever. Invite anyway. I promise you, guests feel more welcome in “normal homes” than museums any day of the week anyway. And if we are being completely honest…. THEY aren’t comparing your house to anything, YOU ARE. So stop. Give up the fancy of inviting people over when the house is done. Newsflash, it’ll never be done.
And so I’d like to challenge you this year to invite someone over around the holidays. It doesn’t have to be fancy. We are making soup on Christmas Eve like we do some years and inviting friends and family over. Will my kitchen traffic get jammed up and make me silently declare that we need a bigger house for the 486th time this year? Probably. Will the 27 kids at our house trash the basement? Probably, cuz’ that’s what kids do. Will it be loud and crazy and chaotic for a bit? Absolutely. But we will be spending TIME… precious face time together.
And for those of you who are “extroverted introverts” like myself (this means we appear to be extroverts but we only like to socialize on our own terms with people we feel safe with and after a gathering…… please no one talk to me for 3 hours), these get togethers will leave us feeling drained….. but they are so, so worth it.
So here is your plan:
- Invite. I do it via text. Anytime I don’t have to make a phone call, I am happy. Plus, I stink at invitation making. I want to be fancy, but I just can’t. So I text.
- Ask your invitees to bring something. Maybe a snack, a 2 litter of soda, a bottle of wine. If hosting stresses you out or funds are tight, just ask people to chip in. Most people feel so much better if they don’t come empty-handed anyway.
- Have a game or deck of cards or a puzzle handy in the event you run out of riveting things to talk about. We are keeping it really classy and have the game “Pie Face” for this year.
- Light a candle. My absolute favorite is “Winter” from Bath and Body Works. Its just so yummy. It’s an addicting scent with things like balsam in it. It smells like the holidays.
- Play some Christmas music. My personal favorite right now is Kenny Rogers Christmas. Don’t judge.
- Get some cheap, yet cute plastic plates from Hobby Lobby to eat off of. Did you see this post I wrote on making holiday tables easier to clean up? Pretty paperware is a game changer.
- And just chill out. No one is looking at your house as close as you are. Remember you really only need 3 rooms cleaned anyway…. the kitchen, the living area where you’ll hang out and the bathroom. The rest doesn’t matter, you just think it does. 😉
In addition, remember that many of you have little people under your roof who CAN (and SHOULD) help in preparing for company. I’m telling you, the best way to get your house cleaned or a project done is to invite people over. It will light a match under you and in turn, you will light a match under your little people. I promise.
I know the holidays stress so many people out. You have to make a conscious effort to NOT LET IT. I know having people over may feel like “one more thing” and if that’s the case, then invite people over for New Year’s Eve.
But don’t let your house or your decorating or your pets or your piles stop you. It’s a ploy from the enemy to keep you alone and lonely. And life is too short to be lonely. You are trading the sacredness of relationship for the safety of self-protection and it’s not a good trade. Don’t let the enemy fool you.
So invite. Fluff the pillows. Shove some crap in closets. Dust off the tables that have standing dust on them and the rest will do just fine. No one will even notice.
And remember that relationships …… with real life people …… in real live homes…. is the good stuff.
You can do it. I’m rooting for you.
Thank you so much for this reminder! I know it’s true so why do I feel I’m different? 🙂 My excuses are ~ I live in an apt and small space, 1 bathroom and little money. Your idea of asking guests to bring something is great! I never want to feed the enemy so I’m going to work on this!
Great post! Thank you for sharing it with us. It sounds like you will have a wonderful and enjoyable Christmas.
I am so thankful to come across your page on Facebook and then your blog. You help me in many ways. Thank you for this particular blog. I never realized others think the same way as I do. You rock!
This describes me perfectly. Unfortunately, I feel even more pressure than the average person since I just finished interior design school. No one would hire me if they based the decision on what my house currently looks like. haha xo
Thank you for the inspiration! You make me feel normal! Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Oh my gosh, I swear you wrote this for ME! Our home is 125 yrs old. We bought it 20 yrs ago. It was gorgeous & totally wallpapered in period wallpaper by a designer! Well. life happened in that 20 yrs…we raised 9 adopted kids and always had their friends here. Now, my “baby” is 20 and my house is a hot mess!! The wallpaper no longer is beautiful & fresh….even after remodeling the bathrooms twice, somehow they just look “used” lol The two youngest are still at home and in school. I swear they think this is a dorm….they were so neat as little ones! I really have to swallow my pride and invite people over more often! Thanks for this reality check, I needed it!! Merry Christmas to you & your family!
Thank you, Jennifer! You are so right! I just needed to hear it again. You are an inspiration to me. Love your posts!!
Thank you for this post! My husband and I built a house 5 years ago and is now the only home in which my siblings and siblings-in-law can all fit! So, we’ve been entertaining during the holidays for the past 5 years and I’ve had panic attacks every time!
I admit, we also have friends stop over unannounced from time to time and I really get embarrassed when the bathroom isn’t cleaned or the dishes are still in the sink, but I like to hope they’ve gotten used to it. If not, they can stop coming over unannounced, right?
..I absolutely love this post…and I agree with so much of it , … people not having anyone over to visit…because they are trying to keep up with ‘ Ms. Whomever “and her ” spotless, put together home”…when Ms. Whomever, lives alone !! with a cat ! ( or a dog !) lol. I get it, because I lived alone for many years…and I was older ( 31 ) when I had my first child… Before that, I DID have a very clean, organized home. I lived alone, with a dog and a cat. Life relaxed a bit after I had daughter # 3, at age 38. 🙂
Yes, it is a ploy from the enemy to keep people AWAY from us, and keep us from forming close relationships , in which we nurture and care about others..and it is returned . How insightful and it is a Truth… and I am also of the same thought..: If my lounge ( aka ‘ living room / parlor ) is presentable, as is kitchen and bathroom, then I am good with that. 🙂 Even though my daughters are now grown and on their own…I share my living quarters..and there are 2 dogs as well…and I have a small business I am working on getting off the ground. ( similar to what you do, Miss Jennifer ) ..( I have been ” re-doing” furniture and such , since the 1990’s. Long before it was a ‘ mainstream thing”. lol ) .
I so appreciate your posts, insights and helpful pointers…learning is a life- long proposition…no matter how long one has been doing their ‘ craft’. God bless you and yours, Merry Christmas, Miss Jennifer.
I love that you said all this. I always say to others that their house cleaning, size, etc matters nothing to me, and it doesnt. But I always feel like mine is too small, not clean enough, etc. With a 2 year old, and 2 teenagers it will never be perfect in my eyes, but life is too short to worry about those things.
I was so glad to read this article. I think most women are obsessed with Pinterest to the point where one of my friends wakes up at 5:30 am to be on it an hour before the kids get up for school. It is a place to dream. When I grew up none of that existed. People lived in normal sized homes nowhere near the size of the ones you see today. I think what drives it too is seeing all of the larges homes around us that are being built and thinking that is the new normal. I am working on selling things (husband and son want me to) to de-clutter the house. Anyway you are correct on everything you said here. I have a friend who is an interior designer and her home is truly camera ready to be photographed for a house beautiful magazine. I won’t dare invite her to my home. I also have a relative that does nothing but walks around my house to see the latest things I’ve purchased or painted or made as decor item. I never felt this way before but those two people in my life have made me feel so inadequate. There is family competition on the materialism side. This is hard. I can’t keep up. Anyway, I do agree with everything you said. People do however go to the upstairs and use the bathroom or visit my sons room to see what he is playing but actually be looking around to see how I decorated. I feel this pressure to always be on top. That however is the enemy as you said. I am a full Believer in the enemy trying to do as much damage as he can on us. I am glad I found your article and will be reading me for sure.