A few years after my mother-in-law died unexpectedly, right before Christmas my husband and I decided to pick up where she left off and carry on the family tradition. So each Christmas Eve we open up our home to friends and family. We invite everyone we know and love …. and a few people we’ve just met… to come and share an evening eating, drinking, and celebrating family, friendship and life. This year was no exception, except that about 10 days ago our backyard, my husband’s home office, and our garage were flooded. We spent days cleaning up the mess and my husband spent more time trying to figure out what had been lost. Shopping, cooking, cleaning and planning got set aside. ‘You’re going to cancel your party, aren’t you?’ he was asked/told by a concerned father. Paul said, ‘Why would we?’… and of course he spoke for both of us.
Our Christmas Eve party is the best part of our holiday celebration now that our children are older. I love the preparation when I am not feeling a bit frantic and I love when my parents arrive about four hour before the party… My mom helps stir, cut, clean and organize while my dad checks into their hotel, runs errands and picks up ice…
To me, it wouldn’t be Christmas without our Christmas Eve open house. Last night I stepped into the other room to get something and spent time just listening to the rumble of happy conversation that comes with a houseful of friends. I smiled and thought how lucky we were to have so many friends who came to celebrate the season with us. Friends old and new gathered to share food, drink, conversation and laughter.
We have had our party when our bed was in the living room, when the living room floor was painted less than 24hours earlier, when it was so cold in our house because part of the house had only art of a roof, when it was so warm that we could sit outside and when it was snowing so hard that my sister’s rv struggled to leave… It is through these gatherings that we remember how lucky we really are, and how important connecting with people can be.
Each person that came is part of the tapestry (they are more than just fabric) of our lives… They come from places far and near… Japan, Ireland, Brazil, England, New York, Los Angeles, Australia, Glide, and Roseburg…. They are teachers, dancers, artists, skydivers, accountants, engineers, cyclists, students and musicians… They make our lives rich.
So when things happen that make life less than easy, cancelling time spent with family and friends is just not an option… Tradition is important, and our Christmas Eve open house is not just a tradition for us… I hope it is a tradition for all who come… To all the many friends who graced our home last night, thank you! You made my holiday season! And for those of you who couldn’t make it this year… You are officially invited… next year, December 24th, 2016, 4-8pm…. Mark your calendar for an evening of open conversations, laughter, food and friendship!