Just as the leaves have turned and the air has the beginnings of a winter chill, our hearts have begun to shift into the holiday season with a longing for time spent with loved ones over apple pie, honey baked ham, twinkly lights, warm knits, and embers crackling in the fireplace. November marks the beginning of a time when we as women, innately hostesses or not, dig deep to find ways to make others feel welcomed into our homes. We begin to nest. We set up décor that sings of cheer, rearrange for seasonal trinkets to be displayed, pick the perfect turkey and cranberry dressing, find the fullest pine tree with ornaments hung “just so,” arrange the most shabby centerpieces, and busily clean and prepare for our friends and family to feel welcomed to “sit and stay awhile.”

As merry as all of this nesting sounds, though, we often miss the heart of what being a hostess is all about. We overlook the point of what it means to open a door and invite someone in; that point being to serve others, connect honestly and openly, laugh and share moments of joy in conversation, and in our actions, show true love and kindness.

Below are a few ideas for being an intentional hostess this holiday season…

Let Yourself Truly Connect
It is easy to get overwhelmed with small talk during the holiday season, never feeling like you truly connect, even though you have seen so many friends and family members. What an amazing gift you can give a friend by merely breaking down walls and taking the time to be honest and open about where you are at this holiday season. Reach deep into your soul and share specific joys. Be vulnerable and honest about hardships. Show that you are human, imperfect, and endearing by meeting your friend exactly where you are. You may find that she’ll do the same.

Try Some Fresh Flowers
Fill small jars or vases with freshly cut flowers. This will bring life to your home, but you can also send the cut blooms with your visiting friend at the end of her stay. With ribbon and a small notecard, tie a few words of love and merriment to the stem of a freshly cut bundle of flowers that you can then send home with your guests.

Provide Reading Material
For overnight visitors, put together a stack of reading materials you feel match their heart and style: a stack of local travel books, a collection of short stories, or even a copy of Darling Magazine. Having subtle details in your home that are specific to your visitor sends a message that you thoughtfully planned on their visit.

This holiday season, let’s commit as darling women to being mindful in the way we welcome others into our homes, focusing on making meaningful connections with others rather than getting wrapped up in a whirlwind of the materialistic elements of being a hostess. True, yes, that a pie baking in the oven, sparkling clean floors, neatly decorated walls, and an entryway that looks as though its straight out of the Pottery Barn catalogue are all elements that contribute to making a house inviting and pleasing to our senses. However, it is the heart of the woman opening that door, the words spoken within the walls, and the subtle gestures of kindness and love that ultimately make your houseguest feel truly welcomed.

How do you make your house guests feel welcome?

Image via Pinterest


  1. Thank you, Natalie! Imagine what a holiday season it would be if every single woman focused on her heart and serving others! Something humbling to and something I am definitely working on daily!

  2. Great tips, Lauren! I love how you put everything into perspective and reminded us of what being a hostess really means. It’s all about meaningful connection and authentic friendship—not having the perfect house or centerpieces. Love it!

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