Special touches that create warmth and welcome
What is atmosphere? Is it really important in entertaining and showing hospitality? I thought about this for some time and I have come to believe that atmosphere is the most important part of hospitality. Atmosphere is everything that is around you. It is the sounds that you hear. It is the sights that you see. It is the smells you smell. Atmosphere is everywhere. If you hear someone cursing or using the Lord’s name in vain, you have a tendency to shy away from that person because he is creating a negative atmosphere.” Smelling certain odors (good or bad) creates atmosphere. In entertaining, I want to create an atmosphere where people will feel warm, welcome, and accepted.
One touch that creates warmth and welcome is to play good music. God must have thought music was important because He mentioned it 1028 times in the Bible. Music is very powerful. It can be stimulating, calming, or exciting. Music can provoke a thought or an emotion. Music can create bad memories, or it can create good memories. Sometimes when I hear music of a past era, that music stimulates my thoughts in an unspiritual way, and it reminds me of events that occurred before I was saved. I hate those carnal thoughts, because they remind me of my ungodly past. When my children were small, our family listened to children’s gospel music as we traveled. Today when my grown children hear those songs, it reminds them of those fun times, and that music stimulates good memories in their minds.
Good music can be therapeutic to the soul. Music is said to lift people out of depression. Think of Saul when he was in his desperate state, he called for David to play music. Music can make stimulate you to feel patriotic, or it can move you to dream of far-away places.
For outdoor events, I don’t want to create the same atmosphere that I would want to create for an indoor event on a cold February evening. During outdoor events, people will be laughing and talking, while children are running and playing. During indoor events, guests will be enjoying more peaceful activities and conversation.
To create a calming atmosphere as guests arrive, play soft Christian instrumental music.
Make sure your music is not playing too loud, when your guests are visiting with each other.
While guests are eating meals, play music that will have calming effect.
For overnight guests, play cheerful music such as Celtic or Old English Hymns while your guests are preparing for the day and eating breakfast.
For a Fourth of July picnic, play energetic, patriotic music.
For a Mexican Fiesta, play Spanish music for your background music.
For an Italian dinner, play soft Italian music for your background music.
For a western party, play old cowboy songs for your background music.
Another touch of atmosphere is lighting. When I entertain, I like to dim the lights. Although usually right after I dim the lights, my husband comes through the rooms and turns them on bright. This is a good example of how men and women view things. I like to use low watt light bulbs and many candles. There is just something magical about candle light. It is inviting and warm.
Place votive candles in crystal dishes and place them on a silver tray or mirror.
If you have a fireplace that is not being used, place five or six candles in the fireplace.
If you are trying to create atmosphere in living rooms or parlors, it is better to use lamps rather than overhead lights. (Interior decorators say for best affect, light the four corners of a room with lamps).
Illuminate areas where you can emphasize beautiful displays.
Although candle light is not necessarily for very small children, older children do appreciate its beauty. My grandchildren love it when I use candles for the holiday season and at special meals.
Luminaries can be used to line walkways and driveways, or placed on porches.
Note: A luminary is made by placing a votive candle in a jar filled a quarter of the way with cat litter. Place the jar in white or colored paper bags and position them along a pathway or on a porch. Light luminaries just before guests arrive.
The last touch of atmosphere is smell. My husband and I love to stay in Bed and Breakfast Inns. One summer we stopped in Pennsylvania and stayed in a small home that had been converted into a Bed and Breakfast. When we walked in, the fragrance in the home smelled wonderful. The inn keeper was burning Yankee Candle’s fragrance Home Sweet Home. Today that is one of my most favorite fragrances.
Buy a new candle fragrance and create your own atmosphere of smell. “Why do we love certain houses, and why do they seem to love us? It is the warmth of our individual hearts reflected in our surroundings.” –T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings