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Welcome to SwansonPonATime! We are a young missionary couple in Peru, and this is our space to share our journey with you! ...Enjoy! 

Full House for the Holidays

Full House for the Holidays

Hey everyone!

With holiday season comes lots of visitors and Julian and I have been so lucky that we are not an exception to that rule this year. I remember really cherishing last holiday season because I didn’t know if we would be able to see our families next year during this time since we’d be living in Peru. But we had Julian’s oldest brother Jonathan his wife Christina and their two kids Joshua and Bella for Thanksgiving, now Julian’s youngest brother Jayme his wife Malia and their two children Havi & Matthis (who are 2 years old and 7 months) are here until Christmas, and also his parents will be arriving on Wednesday!! Oh, and then the day after they leave our friends Michael and Kat will be joining us to bring in the New Year! Talk about packed house for the holiday’s!!  

It’s really an answered prayer to have all of these visitors and I feel like it’s another way God is just taking care of us so we are not lonely. But I’d be lying if I’d say hosting over and over again did not have its challenges. So, if you are like me and find yourself feeling a bit nervous about having a packed house this holiday season, here are some good tips I’ve learned from others and from the experience.

  •       Don’t stress over the mess! 

   I love my house being clean, in order, with nothing on the counter tops. And a few years ago, I asked my sister in law Christina how she handled having so many people in her house and she gave me some sold advice that has really helped me as we have been hosting so many people. She told me not to worry about the disorder and mess of your house, that there is always going to be something out of place and it will not look as you keep it, but it’s better to leave it and enjoy your company then stress yourself over the mess and miss out on spending quality time with your loved ones.

  •       Ask Your Guest what their expectations are for their visit

   This is one that I started when Jonathan and Christina visited for Thanksgiving, a few days before they arrived I asked them what their expectations were for their visit, I asked because I wanted to ensure that we could cover or at least try to make everything they wanted happen in the time they were there. I think this is so key because how many times have you gone to visit somewhere and felt a bit disappointed because you didn’t get to have that intentional conversation you were really looking forward to. Or didn’t get to go see that really interesting thing in the town because you never said you wanted to.

  •       Take time to yourself

   I know this one can be a bit hard if you’re a recovering people pleaser like me or have desire to be the perfect hostess… like me as well. But it’s so easy to burn out and then get annoyed when you are not taking time for yourself. Julian and I would struggle spending quality time together when we had visitors, then when they left, we would realized that we hadn’t had any time for ourselves just to hang out and talk which left us feeling disconnected towards each other and our love tanks empty. So, we try to make it a point to keep our date nights even if that’s us taking a 15 min walk and grabbing a Coke, just so we stay connected. Though it’s hard for us to pull away sometimes, it’s better for us to take that time, than for our guest to leave and we are arguing and feeling distant because we didn’t prioritize our relationship. (But this is really important to voice to your guest so they don’t feel excluded).

  •       Enjoy!!

   As I said having a packed house is challenging, you are sharing your space with a whole lot of people that most likely have a different routine than you, but remember that these people have spent money, time, and energy to be with you! They obviously love you a lot, so enjoy your time with them. Take a whole bunch of selfies, play games (this year on Christmas Eve I want to do Christmas Karaoke with the whole family haha), and make great memories!


I am so grateful for a big family that love us and would decide to come to the middle of nowhere during the holidays just to spend it with us. I hope this has given you a little peace as you host.


Much Love,


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One Year in Peru - Lessons Learned

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