As I sit here in this weird holiday season, I wonder how we can practice hospitality and maintain relationships, even when so many of the ways in which we're used to gathering are off the table.
Owners Randy and Diane in their home
Regardless of whether you're living in this season business-as-usual, are intensely isolating, or somewhere in the middle, life is not the same right now. Chances are you have an elderly family member who has been living alone for a while. Or perhaps you are feeling the emotional affects of isolation because you live alone and no one is having parties. I think that the usual demands of this season, and the way this virus is wreaking havoc on our communities and country, can help us awaken to the most important priorities in our lives.
Making time for connection is so important. But how do we connect, when, well, we can't?
I read a small book recently, a collection of letters, actually, between the American writer Helen Hanff and a British bookseller. These letters were written in a post WWII world, and I was struck by the difficulties and challenges of food rationing and political uncertainty many were facing during that time. But I was also struck by the camaraderie in the face of these difficulties. Human ingenuity is a remarkable thing, and I think we can all use this time to put that spirit to work.
Write a letter /
We've been talking about writing letters a lot around here, and it's because we just think it's a very underrated way of building relationships. It can be an intimidating practice, but just remember, it's only paper! If you mess up, throw it out, and start again. Whenever I write a letter, I immediately feel a deeper connection to the recipient, even though they haven't read my words yet. It's a really good practice if you're feeling alone this season.
Have a snowy bonfire /
I love the idea of having a handful of people over to gather around a fire. If there was ever a time to make sure you have a heavy coat and insulated boots and mittens, now is it it! String up some twinkle lights, and bring your blankets and pillows outside for added magic.
Enjoy takeout on a restaurant patio /
A lot of restaurants in the U.S. are providing outdoor seating. Consider bundling up and enjoying a meal outdoors with friends.
Throw a party for the people living in your house /
How often do we neglect the people we live with? Often, I think. What if you threw a holiday party with those you live with? Everyone could dress up, special food could be prepared (or some take out could be ordered), and everyone could enjoy music and drinks. Staying home might just be the opportunity you've been looking for to deepen relationships with your teens, your roommate, your spouse, or your young children.
We hope you'll find ways to connect with your loved ones this season, and enjoy the good of those connections made, even if they look different.