The surprising way to host a dinner party even when you’re exhausted and your house feels messy!


We all have those nights of longing for pajamas, simple dinner, and some old re-runs the moment we’re tucked in for the evening. But — before we know it we’ve created a habit of isolation and loneliness by shutting ourselves in and not sharing real food with real people in our homes.

What’s your go-to Excuse?

The refrain usually starts with, “I’ll have people over when…”
…I’m not brain dead tired.
…when the house is clean.
…I can figure out what to make for dinner.
…once we paint the bathroom.
…when the kids are older.
…after the lawn is mowed.
…when we have a little extra cash in the budget.
 
Whatever your ‘when’ is it’s time to gracefully push it aside. It’s keeping you from embracing the people in your life who matter.

Quite Possibly the Easiest Gathering You Will Ever Host

The Invitation:
Call, email, text, or tweet your friends. “Hey, I’d love for you to come over on _______________ night for dinner at _____ pm. Bring a box of your favorite cereal. I’ll provide the milk and a box of cereal too. We’re having a cozy cereal party so wear comfy clothes.”
 
The Meal:
Cereal, milk, toast. Talk about simple.
 
More than likely you have a loaf of bread and a smidgen of peanut butter left in the jar, a random assortment of jellies and butter in the fridge. Pull them out with the toaster. Leave those toast crumbs in the butter. Maybe that’s gross but I’m willing to bet 92% of people experience the same particles in their breakfast spreads. It’ll add to the homey vibe.

Simple Dinner Party, Dinner Made Easy, Dinner in 5 Minutes
Set-up:
Toaster, bowls, spoons. Napkins and butter knives for toast. Ta-dah! You’re done.
 
Ground Rules:
Break out the comfy clothing. Keen on sweatpants? Holey jeans and a grandma sweater? Okay!
 
Don’t over-clean your house or apartment. Leave the mis-matched blankets on the couch, the empty pizza box and stack of junk mail and on the counter, and the wee dust particles on the picture frames. Most everyone else has these accoutrements in their home too.
 
Want to eat cozied up in the living room? Go for it. Invite your friends to grab an extra couch pillow and flop on the floor.
 
Just Be, with the People You Love:
Think about it. When you’re exhausted, sometimes the last thing you want to do is go out to a party because you might have to spiff up, whip up a great side-dish, be ‘on’.
 
When there’s no pressure to be ‘dazzling’, you can just be yourself. Even if that means ya’ll just sit around the living room staring at the walls and crunching on cereal because it’s been a ‘long hard day’ at the office or at home with the kids.
 
Being together is essential. Isn’t this what we crave? To be known, understood, seen, and loved in our weakest, tiredest, messy-house moments? When there’s no pressure to converse, conversation flows naturally.

So whatever excuse might keep you from fellowship and hospitality tonight let it evaporate. Instead, invite your dearest friends into your home for cereal.

Image CC Nori & Jonathan Lin

18 comments… add one

  • Nancy October 30, 2014, 12:20 pm

    Hahaha! I love this!

    • Alysa October 30, 2014, 1:04 pm

      I’m so glad, Nancy. It makes sense, doesn’t it? To GO FOR IT and gather with friends no matter what?

  • Lauri Newell October 30, 2014, 4:21 pm

    This is so great! It can be a twist on our Breakfast4Dinner???? that we do… :o)

    • Alysa October 30, 2014, 5:34 pm

      It totally can be! 😀 Glad you like it Lauri. It’s one of the simple party ideas from my Authentic Hospitality guide.

  • Patsy November 1, 2014, 3:44 am

    Love this, Alysa! You are right on with losing those excuses. Great and simple way to celebrate each other!

    • Alysa November 1, 2014, 10:14 am

      Thanks so much Patsy! I can’t wait for your new website to launch — I’m sure it’ll be full of awesome celebration inspiration.

  • Katie Kump November 18, 2014, 5:22 pm

    THIS IS HAPPENING. The next time Stephen is away on business or with the Army. Oh yes. Might even turn time back ten years and make it a slumbie. :)

    • Alysa November 18, 2014, 5:54 pm

      A slumbie! That’s the best, best, best word and idea ever, Katie! I can’t wait to hear all about it.

  • jennyf July 12, 2015, 9:14 am

    over here from the nester! great idea, i love it. Our go to entertaining is “come over for dessert!” It’s easy, cheap, usually only lasts for 2 hours, and during the summer it’s OUTSIDE. oh, and did i mention it will wear the kids out right before bed? yep!

    • Alysa July 12, 2015, 2:36 pm

      Hi Jenny! Thanks for hopping over from The Nester’s site. I definitely need to incorporate “dessert” into our get-together routine. Especially during summer. Great reminder. Homemade ice cream here we come. :)

    • amber July 13, 2015, 10:38 am

      Genius idea! Seriously, I’d have a hard time resisting a dessert invite. I’m thinking Happy Hour could work too. Some simple appetizers and sangria. Done.

      • Alysa July 13, 2015, 10:58 am

        Yes! Simple appetizers are a great idea, Amber! No need to put on a 5 course menu just to have friends over. Yes — I’d have a hard time resisting a dessert invite too.

  • Tina Matteson July 13, 2015, 12:16 am

    Just found you from the Nester, too…. I LOVE this idea… Been wanting to invite my new pastor and his family over (they just came to our church two weeks ago!) Do you think this idea would go over with them!? :)

    • Alysa July 13, 2015, 8:27 am

      Hi Tina! Welcome! :) Yes, definitely try this out with your new pastor and his family. I bet they’d enjoy it. A new Kitchen Fellowship follower over on Twitter was talking about calling this a “cereal potluck”. Made me laugh — such a great name for it. If you try it, let me know how it goes. Grateful you’re being so welcoming to your new pastor.

  • mary beth July 13, 2015, 9:39 am

    love this, altho I would have pizza (either frozen or delivered) instead of cereal.

    • Alysa July 13, 2015, 10:57 am

      Pizza is our go-to as well! It’s just so delicious! Sometimes we’ll do that with friends — all bring our favorite frozen pizza over and pop about 3 of them in the oven. Hope you have a lovely week, Mary Beth!

  • Debbie October 20, 2015, 8:34 pm

    LOVE this Alysa! There have been times that I’ll be outside in the summer with my kids and our neighbors are out with theirs and we just decide it’ll be fun to have lunch together. Maybe we do it picnic-style outside or we decide to come in to my house and eat. And we just kind of pull together whatever we’ve got, last-minute. I’ll whip up some PBJs and my friend will grab some Goldfish or cheese sticks. And we make it work. And it’s wonderful for the kids and for us as moms. It’s funny how I never thought of that as hospitality . . . or even that that could happen any time, not just when my kids are outside playing. Thank you for relaxing the preconceived notion of hospitality and reminding us it’s not about what’s served but rather about the gathering itself. Sooo good!

    • Alysa October 21, 2015, 9:17 am

      Love the sound of your neighborly picnics! Glad to know you’ll see that as hospitality now. :) You’re so right, it’s about the gathering itself. Thanks for being here Debbie!

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