Get to know your neighbors with a neighborhood Christmas brunch!
The Bible commands us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” But do you even know your neighbor?
It’s easy to get distracted with busyness and simply forget to meet neighbors. But it’s important to know who’s living close to you.
It can be as simple as introducing yourself when you’re getting the mail or taking the garbage out. It might mean taking over a loaf of bread or plate of cookies when you notice a moving truck in the neighborhood.
It could mean stepping out on a limb and inviting your neighbors to an ice cream social or cookout during the summer. Or a Christmas brunch in December.
Why host a neighborhood Christmas brunch?
I first heard about a neighborhood Christmas brunch as a creative Christian outreach when I was in college. Liking the idea, I tucked it away as something I could do when I finally owned a home.
Ten years later my husband and I moved in to our first neighborhood and I got to plan my first neighborhood Christmas gathering. At the time, I knew only a couple of my neighbors. I had no idea who would come and what they would think – but I went ahead and made plans.
Three women came – and once they got settled in to a seat in my living room, one boldly asked:
“OK, Hilary. So why do you have us here today? What do you want?”
Surprised that anyone would think I would want something out of the get together, I answered that I simply wanted to get to know my neighbors. My neighbors relaxed, and we talked over cookies, punch, and appetizers for a couple hours.
Christmas brunch failure … and success
When I moved into my current neighborhood a few years ago, I knew I wanted to bless my neighbor women with a Christmas gathering. I sent out invitations for a Christmas tea, cleaned my house … and failed to prepare far in advance.
Foolishly, I thought I could whip up all the food in a couple hours. After church on a Sunday. With two toddlers in my house.
I didn’t have nearly enough time to make everything I had hoped, and I remember running as fast as I could to clean my bathroom, wash my dishes, and try to get as much food prepared as possible. Since most of my neighbors are retired and have time to keep immaculate homes, I was beyond frazzled – especially when they all were quite punctual.
I ended up not having enough room around our table, and halfway through the gathering noticed I served a cheese plate, cheese dip, cheese spread, Christmas cookies … and coffee. Some kind of a Christmas tea! My sweet neighbors were very gracious, appreciative, and still seemed to enjoy getting to see each other before Christmas.
The next year, I made a mental note of everything I did wrong – and tried to correct my mistakes. Instead of choosing a tea, I decided to host my favorite kind of meal – a brunch.
Breakfast food is so good, and by managing my time right, I could prepare my house the night before the brunch – after my young children were asleep.
Brunch was a success! I was thankful for making better plans – and loved my menu choices of quiche, French toast casserole, fresh fruit, granola, yogurt, coffee, and juice.
My favorite neighbor brunch
This December marked my fourth year of hosting a Christmas brunch in my neighborhood, and I absolutely loved it.
This year, my neighbors gathered for my brunch of quiche (spinach and mozzerella, and ham and cheddar) broccoli salad (I skipped the onions, sunflower seeds and raisins), strawberry pretzel salad, gingerbread scones, cranberry orange tea bread, hot drinks, and punch – and they stayed for two hours, visiting the entire time.
It was, by far, my favorite gathering because we all ended up sharing how we met our husbands. All of my neighbors have been married anywhere from 47 to 59 years, and I absolutely loved hearing the stories of when they were young women. Even though we live on the same street and work outside in our yards and gardens in the summertime, we so rarely get to visit as a large group.
Not every woman in our neighborhood comes to my Christmas brunches, but most do. I’m thankful that I’m getting to cultivate relationships with those who do come. I’m thankful that my family has gotten the chance to know and love our neighbors. And I’m thankful that God has blessed us with the neighbors we have.
How have you gotten to know your neighbors? If you’ve ever hosted or attended a neighborhood Christmas brunch, what do enjoy the most?
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All images courtesy of Pixabay.