Too often we forgo entertaining because of the mere thought of all of the preparation that is involved. And more is not better. Often we try to out do each other with lavish parties and expensive gifts. Stop and remember for a second what was important from your own childhood. Was it an outing? Baking cookies with your grandmother? Building a snowman with your dad? We need to connect. This doesn’t require more time, just shifting the focus of the time we already have. Here, a casual party and a very simple activity were the catalyst that brought everyone together.
To get the entire neighborhood into the Christmas spirit we planned a caroling party. The day before our guests arrived, my kids and I spent an afternoon making decorative candleholders. We gave one to each caroler to light the way for our caroling expedition.
Dad, dressed as Santa, provided our very own photo opportunity. Little ones whispered their Christmas list in Santa’s ear. Grown ups, as well as kids, had their pictures taken in Santa’s lap.
Parents, kids, and even a few dogs then joined us on our merry way. Our numbers grew as we made our way caroling through the neighborhood. We chose 2-3 classic songs for our repertoire so that everyone we visited (and even the smallest child) could sing along. As the carolers returned, we welcomed them with Mexican hot chocolate and ginger spice cookies.
Each year we meet new neighbors. This is a great way to bring joy into our community and engage everyone in an activity that the whole family can enjoy. And for a few short hours we are able to turn our attention away from the commercial marketing of the holidays to something much more personal.
About the Author: Rondi Hillstrom Davis is the co-author of the award-winning book Together: Creating Family Traditions. To check out her website that's jam packed with family ideas, visit TogetherParenting.com