Tea Time: The Quickest Way To Make a Guest Feel Welcome

Last month I had the pleasure of spending two days with my friend and colleague Faith Durand at her home in Columbus, Ohio. I landed in Columbus at the beginning of what would end up being one of the coldest weekends of the season thus far, and as I waited for Faith outside the airport terminal, the snow was just beginning to fall. Faith and I were about to start a two-day editorial retreat. (One of the perks of this job: brainstorming fun ideas for The Kitchn!) It was mid-afternoon by the time we arrived back at her house (and still a work day), so after dropping my suitcase upstairs in the guest bedroom I set up shop in her dining room—laptop, Google reader, Twitter, posts that just went up, posts due in 15 minutes—and soon we were both in "editing and writing" mode.

After a few quiet minutes of working, and with the wind gathering strength outside, Faith declared it was time for tea. She disappeared into the kitchen and within a few moments brought out a pot of black tea and a plate of snacks, beautifully arranged: orange slices, almond biscotti, dates, and something chocolate-filled and delicious from Trader Joe's. The house was chilly (as most charming older homes are), but nothing the wool blanket I snagged from the reading chair in the living room couldn't cure.

Suddenly I realized: even though I'd only been there for an hour at most, I found myself feeling completely at home. Was it the tea? The snacks? The wool blanket wrapped around my shoulders? The accumulating snow outside? I guess true hospitality is like that: it's subtle. It's seamless. You don't realize you're getting it until after you're already comfortable.

How do you welcome guests into your home? Do you have a go-to way of making your guests feel comfortable and cozy?

Related: 8 Simple Tips To Make Your Dinner Guests Feel Comfortable

(Image: Cambria Bold)

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