and decided to host a Christmas Open House for my neighbors...
Somewhere during one of my rereads of The Mission of Motherhood, I wrote myself a post it note that said: "Open up your home to your neighbors. Do it. No excuses." I found it stuck in a November page when I did my daily devotional over Thanksgiving and broached the subject of hosting an open house with Patrick. He was on board, and we discussed what our motivation would be. We summed it up these ways:
1. Aside from our 2 next door neighbors' families who we love, we don't know our neighbors well. We need to. If we don't know them, we can't reach out to them.
2. We want to teach our girls about hospitality and community.
3. We want to have a clean and decorated home. (Honestly, sometimes my biggest motivation to have people over is so that I will HAVE to clean my bathrooms. Seriously.)
(We added the Santa this year because we thought we needed to "up" our decor for the girls. They LOVE it. Ansley "Ho ho ho's" every time she sees it.)
When we looked at our calendars and the Titan's football schedule, we realized that the only date that would be feasible would be this Sunday. At that point, I almost backed out, but I saw that post it note again, and I thought, "no excuses." We prayed about it, we asked the Lord for guidance and blessings, and we went for it. I mixed and matched some Christmas invitations that I had on hand, and I hand wrote this greeting on them:
Jingle Jingle, let the neighbors all mingle.
Let's get together for some holiday cheer,
And get to know the families who live so near.
Please join us for a
Christmas Open House
Because it was last minute, I walked the invites to the mailboxes in the freezing rain at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, and honestly didn't know if anyone would show up.
I went to Costco and got some petite quiches, spinach dip, and pigs in a blanket. Then Addison and I made candy cane cookies, pumpkin muffins, and a snowball with graham cracker sticks. (Recipe below, and pictured on the Snowman with the mitten and boots spreaders) We served hot cider and water, and we waited in anticipation.
Addison was especially excited. She prayed for her neighbors, and after baking all morning on Saturday, she woke up from her nap and thought the party was that day. She was devastated when I told her it would be the next day (I think mostly because she really wanted to eat the candy cane cookies she had slaved over...).
Our party turned out to be so fun. We only had about half of the people come, but that allowed us to have real and meaningful conversations with them. It allowed us to make connections that hopefully the Lord will bless in the future. The kids were hilarious together. They snuck food and swapped elf stories. One of them said, "Hey, guys, I bet our elves meet up each night to fly back to the North Pole." Another gave tips on how to get a girl elf in the future. It was entertaining eavesdropping for sure! We were so thankful and so blessed with an absolutely lovely Sunday afternoon.
Here are a couple of pictures of my little sweeties after church yesterday.
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup of shaved coconut
Mix ingredients. Form into a ball. Roll in remaining coconut flakes. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve with graham cracker sticks. Make sure you have a big party and can share the goodness because otherwise you will eat it ALL.
Hope you are enjoying this season of advent!