Here at Faithful Workouts, we believe in the importance of bringing people together and a special way to do that is to invite people into our homes and “break bread” together for a meal. There is something powerful that happens when we slow down and make time to sit around a table to ask someone how they are doing and be fully present to hear their answer. In fact, in Romans 12, Paul reminds us of our God-appointed duty of hospitality, to invite people into our homes. "Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:13 " and Peter shared the importance of sharing our homes with others for a meal and if needed a place to stay "Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or place to stay." 1 Peter 4:9
Mealtime can be a special time, especially during the holidays, not only for loved ones to come together but as a way for us to pray to God for guidance for who He needs us to reach out to, those who need and crave togetherness, around our table. For many the holidays is a lonely reminder that they lack people in their lives to celebrate it with. When we take the time to lovingly invite someone into our home we are saying to them “You are loved. You matter. Come as you are.”
We know hosting a meal and entertaining can feel like an overwhelming task, where perfectionism around decorating can steal your joy but it doesn’t have to. We are so excited to have a special guest with us today, Julia Terpstra, to share these 5 simple tips to creating a cozy, inviting table setting.
1. Fresh Botanicals. There is something special about having fresh flowers or greenery on the table. Bringing the beauty of nature indoors is an instant mood booster and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Use fun elements like metal watering cans, buckets, vintage glass jars, terra cotta pots, a wood dough bowl or pitchers for a vase. Look around your yard for fresh greenery that you can cut for free. Use just the greenery or use it as a primary filler and buy a package of fresh flowers from your local market to add in for a pop of color or use just fresh flowers in a favorite vase or Mason jars. A plant also makes a pretty centerpiece too.
2. Formal or Fun. So often we hide away our good dishes, silverware, glassware and linens for “special” occasions that rarely get used so break out the good dishes and real linens to make your guests feel extra special if you want to go for a more formal look. If you want to keep the clean up to a minimum there are lots of fun disposable dinner ware options you can use too. Whatever works best for you that keeps it fun and without the stress.
Don’t worry if everything doesn’t match perfectly. Mix and match your dinnerware to make it whimsical and the same goes for your linens. Break out the napkin holders you rarely use or you can use simple jute twine or ribbon.
3. Layers. Using chargers, place mats or other fun pieces under your dishes is a fun way to give your table setting personality and a cozy charm. It’s important not to make your table setting cluttered or make your guests feel cramped so do what makes sense for the size of your table. If you have a smaller table, round placemats are a good option, if you have a larger table and more space you can really think outside the box with wooden cutting boards, old books folded open, old sheet music as place mats or print something from a computer with an encouraging scripture on it. Have fun and get creative! You never know what kind of conversations it will lead to for your guests.
4. Candles. The warm glow of candlelight definitely makes a table feel warm and inviting. If you have candle sticks you can use them to put taper candles in or pillar candles on. Milk glass vases make great holders for taper candles. Discount stores like Ross and Marshalls have great candles in pretty glass jars that are inexpensive.
5. Place Cards. So often, guests will sit with people they feel most comfortable with and already know. It’s our human nature to do what is comfortable but as the host this is a great opportunity to place people next to others they may not know very well so new relationships can be formed and nurtured. If you have a computer you can go online and find lots of free place card templates and print the names in a fancy font for an added special touch or you can find pretty small note cards at the dollar store and hand write the names of your guests on them.
The most important tip of all is to remember to find joy in the process of creating an inviting and welcoming space to bring people together. Where at your table, people can be reminded of what's truly important; how much they are cherished and loved.
Thank you so much Julia for sharing your awesome tips with us and our community!
Julia Terpstra is a plant loving California mom. You can find her playing with succulents, tablescapes and concrete over on Instagram at @juliaterpstra