The smell of bolognese swifts through every room of the home. Christmas hymns are being sung and guests are swaying. Old friends and new friends gather here. You are greeted with a warm embrace, knowing you are seen. Cookies are being decorated with homemade icing and wine glasses are being refilled.
This is what Christmas Eve is like at the Beckwith home. We have a huge Italian dinner, even though none of us are Italian. All of the neighbors are invited to join. My Mother would knock on their doors weeks before to invite them face to face. When you walk through the door, you are greeted with the biggest smile and hug. My Mother is always so good at making each person feel right at home, never out of place. She would go from room to room, being sure to spend time with every neighbor. She is a connector, and would aim to help start conversations between old and new friends.
On Christmas Day, our whole family comes to my parent’s home to celebrate Christ's birth. It is the only time of the whole year that we are all together, so it is a real treat but also all kinds of crazy. My Mom knows each person's dietary needs, and is sure to have multiple options for them. She learns how to bake new recipes to cater to what each person enjoys. She buys these Swedish Christmas poppers and sets them at each plate to celebrate our family’s heritage. Inside are fun little toys, games and crowns to wear during dinner. She has a few of us help set up dinner, serve dinner and then clean up the mess. She does not put all of the stress on herself, but she invites others to help and take ownership. She enjoys getting to serve next to a few specific guests so she can find out how they are doing. When you are leaving, you know you will be told you are loved and missed already. She exudes compassion from her core. It pours out from that place. When I think of the word intentionality, I think of my Mother. With the holidays around the corner, I wanted to take some time to share some tips on how we can be more intentional in making our guests feel right at home.
I know this Christmas will most likely look a bit different for many of us, still being in this pandemic. Many of us may be isolated from our loved ones. I picture my grandparents being alone this Christmas and I can’t think about it without tears. Let’s be extra intentional in how we show others from up close or far that they are seen, loved and we are celebrating with them. Let’s keep fighting for hope to be the loudest hymn in our hearts this season.
Here are some practical tips for showing intentionality and care this holiday season. For every tip, I have added a COVID MOD option
As this pandemic continues on, let’s not grow tired and weary of spreading joy and cheer where we can.
“The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.”
Alabaster & Elm loves you.