We held our annual Open House early this year. My plan was to avoid the nuttiness of house prep plus Christmas countdown by scheduling it early. Last year I was in the midst of cleaning when folks starting showing up but it was still fun. This year I knew I wanted to try to find some time to actually spend with my lovely friends and family. Well, that did happen. A little bit.
Sure, 2/3rds of it I was doing something, whether it was rolling lumpias or searching in vain for that beer I just put down right there, but all in all it was a wonderful Open House.
I have insisted on the tradition since we bought this house, this childhood home of mine. We do not practice a religious holiday any more but I realized the why of the Open House just this year. While I was growing up, my family participated in the Catholic church quite a bit. I was raised with the tradition of Advent which in our Church consisted of 4 families choosing each other and spending the four Sundays before the holiday of Christmas gathering at each residence. We would come together after mass, Advent booklet in hand, read through the book and discuss the miraculous event to come... and then eat. And eat. And eat.
I've known this girl since she was born. She still hates the camera
There was always some type of magic in it for me. Wondering which families would group with us. Then wondering what food they would have on their turn. Exploring some other families space (I was nosy even then). It was exciting and a fitting way to slowly prepare for what then was a holiday much more about the birth of a baby then the stuff under the tree.
Havana, my sister in law and her mama
Although we do not practice the religious aspect now, I still find myself clinging to the desire to slowly invite the celebration that is Christmas into our lives. And I realize I crave that gathering of families. It is why I open our doors every year, clean house, make the laborious lumpia (which will blow your socks off, but takes a team effort to create). It fills me up and makes this time seem much more about family than consuming. Well, it still is about consuming, just in a food way, not a stuff way.
I think next year might actually be our last in this house, in this area, in fact.
It made the party seem even sweeter, the idea that next year could see a goodbye to so many of the people that all live so close. It makes it bittersweet and I think come November of next year, I might start canvassing the friends and family and find three others that want to open their home and have us, this community that we are, come together.
Here is to home, hearth and happiness.