To say I hosted 50 people at our house for a Christmas Progressive Dinner would be true. Saying that almost 20 of them were small humans just makes it crazy. Particularly when our current house is a modest 3 bedroom (of which guests don’t normally congregate to eat) with a small front and back yard.
It was a good ole time, though and here’s what I learned.
1) We needn’t be so worried about age appropriate toys. After about 20 minutes I looked in my daughter’s (20 months) room and saw a lot of girls having a grand time. One girl grabbed my arm, opened the closet and asked if I could take down the dress up clothes so they could play in them. Cute. But, the thing is, those weren’t dress up clothes. They were her real clothes. So, either my daughter’s clothes are fancier than normal or they are just weird. I may need outside help with this. They played in her crib, with her blankets, read her books, and lined up her stuffed animals. They were up to about 6 or 7 years old, but did the fact that my daughter’s stuff was geared towards babies under 2 matter? No. It made me realize that I can just get toys I think they’ll like and keep them around for various stages. Blocks may be for stacking at one age and for building obstacles at another.
2) It doesn’t have to be ideal to be successful. Entertaining can be stressful at the best of times, but we often wait until we have the ideal situation (in our own heads) before we take the plunge. Oh, when I get new flooring/paint the walls/get a new table/put in a pool I’ll have more people over. Our house is not large, but I didn’t want to let that stop us. If we always wait for a future “ideal” situation to get here it never will. It’s the same as waiting for “enough money” before we start saving or giving. It will always be in the future. The kids ran around outside, raced up and down the side of the house, played in the back yard and ate the marshmallow s’mores and hershey’s pretzel bites we prepared just for them. Oh, it was cramped and hot, but it was a great time.
3) Hosting people at your house is an interesting experience for your own kids. Most little ones generally feel safer and more secure in their own home environment, provided it is a safe place. They are comfortable, confident and familiar with their surroundings. I have found my oldest daughter to be particularly shy in public, but when people are at our house she acts like herself completely. This time, however, with around 50 people at our house, she was a little confused. She didn’t mind people playing with her toys or anything, but she just walked around like “who are all these people and what are they doing here?” My 7 month old slept through the party. I believe in entertaining and being as hospitable as we are able at every stage of life. I think this demonstrates the importance of loving and blessing others and this is something that kids will naturally pick up on if it is the norm in their home. The Bible says we are to practice hospitality, and particularly for those who are unable to repay it. We are still working on that one, but this was a good start.