Flooding Susie’s Inbox

June 9, 2009

Be Our Guest (cue singing candlesticks and teapots)

Filed under: Entertaining, Southern Stuff — sashyjane @ 9:56 am

While hospitality is often synonymous with the South, you don’t have to hail from Jackson, Savannah, Charleston or Richmond to be a gracious host or hostess. Good hospitality is little more than making those around you comfortable, particularly when they are guests in your home. As Emily Post put it, “… if the enthusiasm of your [the host or hostess] welcome springs from innate friendliness- from joy in furthering the delight of good fellowship beneath your own roof- you need have little doubt that those who have accepted your hospitality once will eagerly look forward to doing it again and again.”

One might argue that there is no place for traditional etiquette in modern society. Although today’s manners are more situational, tailored to particular circumstances and the expectations of those around us, they remain a combination of common sense, generosity of spirit and a few have been, they rest on the same bedrock principles: respect, consideration and honesty.

Graciousness is also a large part of mannerly behavior. We all know the gracious host or hostess who has the uncanny ability to handle situations with grace and flexibility. The mark of a gracious person is his or her ability to put people at ease and spare them any embarrassment or discomfort- the very backbone of Southern hospitality!

How can these concepts be put into practicality? Making friends or guests feel like they matter is key. For example, if you’re having overnight guests, make sure their room is as comfortable and welcoming as possible by providing good quality towels and linens, stationery, toiletries, maps or guidebooks for the area (if they plan to sightsee or tour nearby), bottled water, slippers, a comfy robe, a luggage rack and closet space. By going the extra mile, your guests will feel taken care of and special and you will have done your part to play the gracious hostess. More great guest room ideas.

4-09_Compliments*Photo courtesy of marthastewart[dot]com

Good hospitality doesn’t end with overnight guests. Guests for lunch, dinner, cocktails or just a short visit over coffee should be treated with the same measure of care and thought. Offering guests something to drink after you’ve invited them in, taking their coat or bag and placing it in the coat closet or across a bed, inviting them to take a seat and paying close attention to what your guest is saying are all great ways to make someone feel thought-for and valued. Keep your house ready for surprise guests by keeping it clean and inviting. Pick up fresh flowers once a week, keep clean linens on hand and keep an eye out for bargains on guest towels and soaps.

Don’t be intimidated to entertain! You needn’t shy away from having guests because you are unsure about the rules of etiquette. All it takes to be a good hostess exuding Southern hospitality is a little forethought and effort. However, if you’d like to brush up on your etiquette, get some great advice from the iconic Post family. emilypost[dot]com

Originally published at VeryVera[dot]com.

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3 Comments »

  1. What a cute idea on the chair! Martha is awesome!

    Comment by Danielle — June 9, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

  2. Proof that I do read your articles: as I was reading I kept thinking, “Did she quote this from a book and not credit it? I know I’ve read this somewhere before with this exact wording”….turns out it was your original article! I knew I smelled a rat!

    Comment by Susie Mae — June 10, 2009 @ 1:25 am

  3. Coincidentally, Suzanne, Tracey and I just watched Beauty and the Beast today. Time well spent.

    Comment by Susie Mae — June 10, 2009 @ 11:07 pm


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