Hospitality with heart


When we accept that our homes and food don’t have to be perfect, we can discover the joy of entertaining. Here, Sandy Coughlin, author of the book The Reluctant Entertainer, shares 10 “commandments” of hospitality, to help you keep your priorities straight and your gatherings joyful. For more of Coughlin’s helpful tips, read an excerpt from her book in the December issue of Catholic Digest.


Sandy Coughlin’s Ten Commandments of Hospitality


  1. Hospitality is not about you. It’s about making others feel warm and welcome.
  2. Plan ahead, be organized, and know your recipe. Learn to delegate.
  3. Set the mood. Keep ambience and the five senses in mind.
  4. Avoid perfectionism. Put fear aside — it’s a robber of anything good.
  5. Share conversation. Foster friendships by keeping things real.
  6. Demonstrate thriftiness. Buying things at cost or learning to pinch pennies makes entertaining attainable on a budget.
  7. Don’t apologize. It’s OK to make mistakes. Learn to not bring them to light in front of your guests; it robs your guests of relaxation.
  8. Be creative. Use what you have. Keep things simple.
  9. Learn from others. Find mentors and learn to find a healthy balance and keep things real.
  10. Life impact is everything. Experience intimacy and meaning in sharing a meal and gleaning from others’ lives.


Reprinted with permission from The Reluctant Entertainer: Every Woman’s Guide to Simple and Gracious Hospitality by Sandy Coughlin (Bethany House, August 2010).




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