Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gathering Friends and Family

There's a song we sang in Girl Scouts that went, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." My first Christmas open house was held a year after my mother died. Mom was the spirit of Christmas personified. It was tough those first few years without her. So, in her honor, I decided to hold a Christmas Open House where I would invite friends we hadn't seen in a while and new friends we had just made and neighbors and family and the list kind of went on.

Some invitations were formal. Others were word of mouth. I wanted to make it a day that would be fun for everyone. I had no RSVPS. I asked that if you were in the neighborhood that day, about a week before Christmas, between noon and 9 p.m. to just drop in for a few minutes or stay the day. It allowed for people to stop by and catch a quick lunch or dinner on a full day of last minute shopping.

I made the menu as easy as possible. Sloppy joes in the crock pot, a veggie tray, chips and dip, and cookies I could bake ahead and of course soda pop and coffee. I made lots of sloppy joe and planned to freeze what was left if our turnout was small.

The day started out slowly but eventually our home filled with laughter and song and the warmth of friendships renewed. Each time the bell rang and I answered the door, it was like opening up a Christmas gift. I never knew who was there on the other side.

There were lots of surprises. Folks brought more things to eat, ornaments for our tree, and of course lots of pictures to catch up with each other. Some stayed for a short time and a few others spent most of the day enjoying, as I did, seeing their old friends too.

We had many open houses after that--almost an annual thing while the kids were still home. It's been a few years since the last one. I think it may be time again. Hard to think of friends in terms of gold and silver now though. Mostly I think they are all platinum--it's much more valuable.

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