Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sips of the South: Southern Hospitality

Good lord, y'all. Talk about fashionably late. I've now let myself fall two weeks behind in Sips of the South. Sorry!

Southern Hospitality...

How do you welcome your guests?

"Company's coming!"

Well, of course, it's always easier to welcome your guests when you know ahead of time that they're coming! You can

clean clean clean
(although, your home should always be immaculate & ready for guests, right? ;)),
do a special grocery shopping trip,
or do whatever else it is that you always do to prepare for guests.

However, sometimes (especially here in the South, it seems) folks just drop by. What to do then?

Hide behind the bedroom door,
shhh the baby & the dog,
& pray that whoever it is will go on home already?

Well, maybe you can do this once or twice - especially if that rude visitor is showing up unannounced when they know you're at home with a two-month-old. But don't make a habit of it. ;)

A few hospitality notes that can be applied to situations

from drop-in visitors,
to standing Bunco games or playgroups,
to overnight guests.

(& yes, honey, your mama is a guest! Treat her like one when she's at your home, even if she's there to babysit for you for free! Especially then!)

If your darned television is on, turn it off!

I sometimes hate the television. I know you've heard me complain about children's television. & I know y'all think I'm plum neurotic because poor Pretty Little Bare Feet isn't allowed to watch whatever nonsense every other toddler is turning their mamas' television sets to.

But I find the television obnoxious for a lot of other reasons, as well. Daytime television, for the most part, is garbage. Courtroom shows & trashy talk shows are just the tip of the iceberg. Oh, sure, every now&then I'll have Days of Our Lives (as I've guiltily confessed before) or Martha Stewart "on," but usually only during one of Pretty Little Bare Feet's naps. My granny never watched television; she just had certain programs that she kept on - you know, while she did all of her cleaning&cooking. There was no sitting down on the couch with a box of bon-bons! I've adopted a somewhat similar standard - but we generally have our music channels "on," while we go about our business. My Prince & I don't sit down to really watch television until after Pretty Little Bare Feet has gone to bed.


if you're not militant about your television,
like I am,
& you do happen to have it turned on when company comes to the door,
please turn it off.

You don't need "background noise" during a visit. It hinders conversation, & it's rude to your guests to imply that your "stories" are more important that theirs. ;)

(source: Martha Stewart)

Share refreshments with your company.

Notice I italicized "share." That's because I don't mean "give" your guests refreshments. Which is more comfortable, A or B?

A. "Can I get you something to drink?"

B. "I'm just going to fix myself a glass of for some? Or would you prefer something else to drink?"

Generally, visitors won't want to impose.

The less you make them feel like they are imposing,
& the more you make it feel as if you're not doing anything "special just because they're there,"
the more you'll make them feel "at home."

& that's the goal here, isn't it? To make your guests comfortable & relaxed in your home? That's a more special treat than run-of-the-mill politeness any day!

Unless your guests are familiar with your pet, or are dog-owners themselves, put the pooch up.

We love the White Dog. She is family, truly. & to be perfectly honest, I am dismayed by people that aren't professed "dog-lovers." & yes, this is our house, & it's her house, too.

So if you read that boldfaced advice & said, "Why should I have to put my Fifi up?! It's our house! & it's her house, too!"...I feel ya, really I do.

That being said, we did just establish the importance of making the guests comfortable, right?

Especially with children, & especially with large groups...believe me - you will be doing everybody, including Fifi!, a big favor, if you just put her up in her "special place" for a while. Maybe with some white noise (bathroom fans are great for this!) to prevent her from overhearing that she's missing out on a party; & to prevent your party soundtrack from being

& howls.

(Although the White Dog shares our bed at night, she has a great big bright pink bed of her own, in our master bathroom. She lounges in it when I take bubble baths. She retreats to it when she's had enough of being chased by Pretty Little Bare Feet. & she's a little neurotic dog, who is more comfortable staying in one familiar room, with the fan noise; than anxiously roaming all over the house when we're away, wondering about every noise. Sometimes she won't even know we've had anybody over until we let her out afterward, & she smells the lingering scents of our departed guests.)

If your guests are going to be spending all day, or are going to be spending the night, by no means am I recommending that you lock your poor dog up & neglect it all day. Do let your guests know you have a dog, though, especially if they are bringing children. & do wait to bring the dog out until everybody has gotten settled. Not everybody wants to be greeted at the front door, after a long drive, by a barking ball of fluff that's peeing on their shoes with excitement.

(As always, take my advice at your own discretion. Some people are more sensitive than others about these sorts of things. I speak only from my own experience, both as a guest & as a host. I enjoy visiting with my family&friends, however, no matter how "hospitable" or proper they are. ;))


  1. When I have kids, can I send them off to you for some etiquette training?

  2. I couldn't agree more about the tv. That is a huge pet peeve of mine and if it's not enough that some people insist on having it on, others actually continue to watch the program.