Gracious Living in the New Year with Emily Ley

Everything we need to know about gracious living comes from . . . a pineapple.

By Emily Ley

Gracious Living in the New Year with Emily Ley
Front doors, tablescapes, coffee mugs, even a fountain in Charleston—the pineapple graces our Southern homes and street corners as a symbol of our famous hospitality. But how did the fruit find its way into our décor (and hearts)?

Hospitality has always been a passion of mine, but I didn’t always approach it in a healthy way. In my new book, Grace, Not Perfection, I talk about the moment when, after trying to be a perfect wife and new mama while simultaneously running a small business, I decided I didn’t have to be perfect anymore—I was going to hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.

And you know what, sister? The world didn’t end. In fact, this new standard made my days so much smoother, so much happier, and enabled me to tackle the world much more graciously.

When you entertain, cut yourself some slack, because your home doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t need to move heaven and earth to be a good host. Take it from the pineapple: it only takes a little work on the outside to get to the good stuff.

Need a few ideas for incorporating pineapple living into your home? I’ve got a few:

Gracious Living in the New Year with Emily Ley

1.  Make your guests feel at home by creating a Welcome Kit.
Help your guests feel at home by keeping a tray of essentials in the guest bedroom: toiletries, tissues, bath soap, extra toothbrushes, lip balm. Don’t forget to include the Wi-Fi password—it’s 2017, someone’s going to ask for it!

2. Keep snacks and paper goods stocked in the pantry, just in case you have unexpected events or guests.
Keeping snacks on hand is a great rule of thumb (can you ever have too many snacks?). That way, if you need to throw an impromptu celebration for the big soccer win, it’s no big deal—because you already have nuts, apples, almond butter, salami, and cheese. These foods keep for a while, and you’ll always have something on hand to munch on—party or no party. Bonus points if you keep paper plates and cups in the pantry. 

3. At the end of each day, take 5 minutes to straighten the clutter.
I have three children under six. I know my house is going to be messy, but I can do my part to cull the clutter. Every night, I take a few minutes to toss toys back in their bins, put stray cups in the dishwasher, straighten pillows, and throw trash in the garbage. This clean(er) slate calms my mind and helps me start my day without feeling rushed to straighten up (and curbs the last-minute cleaning frenzy when unexpected guests arrive!).

Gracious Living in the New Year with Emily Ley
It doesn’t matter what your hospitality looks like. As long as your guests feel loved and appreciated, they won’t care about stray toys on the floor or Brie served on a paper plate. Going into 2017, I think we could all use a little more love and appreciation, don’t you? So be gracious to those who cross your threshold, and (if their mamas raised them right) they’ll be gracious to you too!

Enter below to win a copy of Emily’s book with even more ideas for “embracing simplicity and celebrating joy.” And be sure to check back next week for our second installment of “Gracious Living in the New Year.”