This is the third in a series about why hospitality matters in every season.
I saw a stranger on Twitter say she didn’t think she would send Christmas cards this year because she didn’t have much news to share with her friends. Here at the end of what’s been a weird year full of social distancing, I actually swing the other way than the Twitter stranger: If there ever was a year to send Christmas cards, 2020 is it. People need good cheer to show up wherever they can get it.
Of course, Christmas cards aren’t the only way to love on your people. In a season of giving when many are distanced from each other, we can get creative with loving each other across the miles.
In my book, “Bringing Home More Than Groceries,” my friend Christen Price shared some ways her family was still connection with others even during a year that forced distanced between them:
- Car Caravans. A friend recently turned eight and couldn’t have a birthday party. So what did we do? We all made “Happy Birthday” signs and hopped in our cars to caravan to her house. We had a parade of people driving through her circular drive singing happy birthday and her mother said it was the best gift to her precious eight-year-old heart.
- Comfort Food. A couple in our small group both work in the medical field as a doctor and a nurse. They informed us of the risks of the virus and were on the front lines wearing masks while treating patients as they enter the hospital. When they got home, all they desired was a hot shower and comfort food to ease them of their daily anxiety. Our small group rotated dropping meals for them at their back door. We never saw them, but this little taste of hospitality let them know they weren’t alone in the work they were doing.
- Computer Chats. My closest group of girlfriends set up Zoom meetings once a week just so we could see one another’s faces. We met in the evenings and we laughed, prayed, and talked about the serious and the silly. While nothing compares to physically being in the same room together, I’m reminded that we can stay connected even when we are apart.
Elsewhere in my book, I share about a dear childhood friend who remains in my life, even though we have only lived in the same town for one year of our adult lives – and that was 18 years ago! Many of these suggestions of connecting across the miles are relevant all year but could be tied up with a bow for the holidays too.
Here are some simple, practical ways to stay connected and close the distance that physically separates loved ones:
- Use social media to spark real conversations. Conversations may happen in emails, text messages, phone calls or Facebook messages, but they go deeper than what’s happening on a public profile. Ask questions, swap stories, or continue previous conversations on a personal level. Maintaining long-distance friendships is certainly aided greatly by technology, but you still have to make an investment.
- Send care packages and real mail. Yes, do it for Christmas or other special dates. But also do it just because.
- Invite them over. Long-distance friends may not be conveniently located in your same town, but you can still invite them over. Get dates on the calendar and make plans. And these days be safe, of course!
- If you can’t be there physically, send something. When my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly a decade ago, some out-of-town friends journeyed to our small town to grieve our loss and celebrate his life with us. Others couldn’t be here, which is understandable, but they sent flowers, pictures frames, cards, and texts of prayers. Celebrate happier holiday moments together across the miles too.
May your December be merry as you find creative ways to connect with your people.
I have a pretty (and free!) printable called Hospitality For Any Season for y’all! Hospitality matters regardless of what season you’re living, so I share practical ways to open your heart and home to others. This would make a cute gift for you to share with a friend – just print and frame it!
Of course, “Bringing Home More Than Groceries” is available on Amazon or directly from me. To get an autographed copy directly from me, send $10 (plus $5 is shipping is needed) via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you a copy delivered to your front porch or mailbox. Or I’m happy to send directly to someone you think would love to receive my book as a gift.