I grew up in a blended family, the youngest of seven. Holidays were full of family, laughter, nieces & nephews who were like cousins. The dinner conversations were loud with everyone talking at the same time. Everyone in my family had an opinion and we shared them freely.
When James and I started our little family in North Carolina, 950 miles, 16 hours away from family, we soon discovered the drive home for Christmas with three children, trying to visit two different states, keeping up with all their gifts was more stressful than celebratory, not to mention expensive. We chose #nostressholidays over travel.
Those first years were hard for me. It was fun creating new traditions with my children. My eyes lit up as their eyes lit up as they unwrapped their gifts in the quiet of their home. But I longed for the big family coming together around the dinner table – laughing, discussing, sharing. (My husband is not exactly the most talkative or most social person in the world.)
But then I had a thought. What if there were other people alone for the holidays? What if others couldn’t travel home, or were feeling lonely and missing family like me? We have a table to share.
Thus, began my most favorite holiday tradition – sharing our table with friends for the holiday. It’s a tradition my daughter is continuing in Canada. Friends at our table have come and gone. It’s not by any means fancy. You will probably find me with house shoes on and sweat pants, my husband in a t-shirt and pajama bottoms. There will not be festive placemats or expensive China. But what you will find is laughter, good food, loud conversation, love, and acceptance.
Over the years, many have been blessed at our table because we chose #nostressholidays over extended family expectations.
What about the holidays make you sad? Perhaps your point of struggle is an opportunity to be a blessing; to start a new tradition for you and your family.
I encourage you to find fellowship this holiday season. Our tradition started around a raggedy table given to me by a friend. We had to cover it with a tablecloth to make it presentable. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to be inviting.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
God sets the lonely in families. Psalm 68:6 NIV