Christmas decorating butlers pantry tree

hospitality// n.  Friendly and generous treatment and entertainment of visitors and guests

Thanks Webster….perfect dictionary definition.

But what does true hospitality really mean?

Beyond the dictionary.  

Beyond the cookie cutter answer.

Beyond the simple definition.

I have a story for that (Of course I do.  You knew I was going to say that….didn’t you)

….oh and there’s a little Christmas decorating to keep the story company. 🙂

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When I was growing up, my father used to teach us with stories.

I was never really sure where all the stories came from.   Maybe his father passed them down through the generations or maybe he had a book of wise stories with teachable lessons….

…or maybe he just read Reader’s Digest a lot.

I loved those stories.

They made me think and truly made his point without a lot of fuss and really stuck with you and taught you something valuable all at the same time.

Christmas decorating butlers pantry


Just like this one…..

Once upon a time there was an old man who sat under a tree by the side of the road and talked to strangers as they passed by.

One day a young man strolled up the road carrying a heavy load with a frown on his face.  He stopped by the old man and paused for a moment to catch his breath.

“Old man,” he said.  “I’m heading down the road to the village that’s two miles from here.  

Have you been there?  

What are the people like in that village?”

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The old man took a moment to consider his answer and then replied to the young stranger with a simple question, “What are the people like in the village you came from?”

“Oh…” the young man groaned.  “They were horrible.  They weren’t friendly or welcoming or hospitable.  They had chips on their shoulders and were full of negativity.”

The old man sighed.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” he said.  “Unfortunately, the people in the village ahead are just like that.  You won’t find a welcome there.”

The young man shook his head despondently and headed off down the road.

Christmas decorating plate rack

Later that day another young man walked up the road carrying a heavy load.  He stopped and paused for a moment to catch his breath.

And just like the previous visitor, he struck up a conversation with the old man.

“Old man,” he said.  “I’m heading down the road to the village that’s two miles from here.  

Have you been there?  

What are the people like in that village?”

Christmas decorating butlers pantry table

Again the old man took a moment to consider his answer and again he replied to the young stranger with a simple question, “What are the people like in the village you came from?”

“The village I came from was wonderful,” the young man replied.  “The villagers were so full of joy and excitement for life and welcomed all to the village with generosity and were known far and wide for their hospitality.”

The old man smiled.

“Well then, my friend,” he said.  “You are in luck.  The village ahead is just like that.  

The people are friendly and full of kindness.  

You will always find a welcome there.”

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A small gesture of kindness in a weary world is like throwing a tiny pebble into the water at the beach.

The stone is so small in the vast ocean, but the ripples can be seen spreading rapidly across the surface of the water.

And the lesson behind my father’s story?

It’s so simple and yet so many times it’s overlooked…..

….the true meaning of hospitality is treating others as you want to be treated.

Oh and make sure that your village always has a story teller. 🙂

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  1. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Yes indeed! I think your father's storytelling ability was passed on to you. I found myself nodding in agreement as I read the story and I sensed where it was going. If you look for negativity that is what you'll find. Treat people as you wish to be treated . . . etc. So in our blogdom you are our raconteur and a very good one at that. You hold a very special place!! You can make us laugh and cry and the same time. That is talent.

  2. Image for Amy W. Amy W.

    Thanks - So - Much for the Heart-felt Story! You're Awesome To Have Shared It With Us! Wishing You and Your Family The Most Wonderful Thanksgiving Week In Which To Celebrate! Take Care!

  3. Image for Louann Louann

    Loved the story. Without a doubt, you are my favorite! Look forward each day to having coffee and reading what you have weitten. Your decorating style is beautiful! Your wittiness amazes me always! Happy thanksgiving! Blessings Louann

  4. Image for Kris Kris

    You always make me happy ... except, well, when you tell tear-jerker stories ... but even those have a kind of happiness to them. Love the darling little tree. And the wreath. And the Bread Bakery plates ...

  5. Image for Alice Alice

    I love that story. My dad told me the same story and I never forgot it. It is so true. We usually find exactly what we expect. My dad was one of the happiest people that I ever met. I so wish I could be more like him. I generally see the good in people but the older I get the more I realize that I sometimes dwell on the unpleasant more than I would like. Love your stories!

  6. Image for Janice Byrd Janice Byrd

    I've always considered myself a hospitable person, primarily because I like to entertain and often have international visitors in my home. However, in recent years, I've come to see that true hospitality is less like Martha Stewart and more like Ron Hall (book: Same Kind of Different as Me). It's more about taking in the homeless and entertaining those who will never be able to repay your hospitality than it is about impressing people with your style, cooking, or decorating. I still love to cook special meals, and decorate in my unique way, but I recognize that when I do, it's usually more about my own self-expression than it is about serving others.

  7. Image for Jo-Anne Jo-Anne

    Reading this made me thing who is the story teller in my family, I know my sister Sandy can spin a bloody good yarn and never lets the facts get in the way of a good yarn...................does that thinks I don't know who it is but you are a bloody good story teller

  8. Image for Christine Christine

    KariAnne, I love you white bowls with red stripes, and the cute small tree. Your Dad sounds like he was a good man and father. Such a heart warming story. Have a blessed day! Christine

  9. Image for Nancy Nancy

    Years ago, I was at a retreat far from home. I met a woman who said she hated where she lived. Everyone was rude, etc. I went on to rave about how I loved my town, how helpful everyone was to me and my three little boys. Yup, same town. It's all in how you relate to people. Thanks for reminding me of this!

  10. Image for Barbara Neubeck Barbara Neubeck

    ... Kari Anne, your story is one we need reminding of occasionally ...and Christmas is the perfect time to do this....... it's nice to get a little nudge to look beyond the presents and fun and to share true hospitality to others ... I love all your red and white dishes... Your father's talent as a story teller seems to have passed to you.... I like being part of your 'village'... Hugs and Blessings.... Barb xxx

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