Happy New Year!
We got our deposit on the old house, so we splurged on a fancy hotel party package for New Years Eve. We got to get all dressed up in our fancy duds. (MM looks so fabulous in a suit!) We ate, drank, and made merry. We got down with our bad selves on the dance floor. (We knew we'd chosen the correct band for us, when we walked in to them playing Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'") We did not manage the champagne toast, because we were too busy kissing in the new year. MM dipped me as the balloons dropped. Another dream come true. What a blast!
We're still Christmasing (happy 12th day of Christmas, y'all!), so blogging's taking a back seat, but here's part two in a series on what we did for Advent/Christmas/Epiphany this year. (Part 1 here.)
Our little house church kept meeting throughout Advent, but it was mostly informal. We'd sit by the pellet stove and catch up on how our weeks went, talk about our Advent/Christmas plans and experiences, share communion, and pray.
One really cool thing we did was, starting in October, each household determined an amount of money to set aside in a jar. On the week of St Nicholas' Day (more in the next post) we took the donations to Target and bought socks and underwear for a children's clothes closet at an elementary school in our neighborhood. We had a blast picking stuff out (oh, the teeny, tiny socks!), and it was fun to see the surprise on the staff's face. "Oh! We need these so much! These will be gone in two days, I guarantee."
We're a house church, so we don't have a bunch of official programs and ministries and all that. We all just do our own thing, contributing to the causes and organizations that move us. But it was cool to do something together this time. And to do something in our neighborhood. And to just show up unexpected. Staff for these organizations get weary of asking for donations all the time. I hope this encouraged them to keep at it.
And I got bonus hang out time with the other gal in our group, since we were the ones to go buy the stuff. It was good to sit and talk a little deeper over coffee. A quiet morning in the midst of a busy season.
This next year will look different for us as far as church goes, so we will probably do something else next Christmas. But this was a peaceful, simple Advent with folks we love. Good times.
Hospitality -Small Gatherings
The Pink House is tiny, so we can't have as many people over as we used to. Bummer for folks who love to do hospitality. But we managed to have smaller gatherings throughout the season, which worked out better, I think.
Early in the season we had a post-concert appetizer and cider party for some family and friends. A cool mix of people from different parts of our lives all nibbling and chatting and laughing. At max we had 14 people, and that seemed about right. People came and went, grabbed food and cider/wine from the kitchen, found seats wherever, and just hung out.
We had a couple different dinner and game nights with different people. My husband learned to play Yatzee, which has turned out to be awesome. He is loud! Much yelling and arm waving and high fiving and fist bumping. A sight to behold. So fun!
One of my favorite times was having one of my best friends come over for brunch and present wrapping. Usually we're both scrambling at the last minute to do gifts, but for whatever reason, this year we had our acts together enough to sit and eat and chat and wrap and listen to Christmas music and eat candy cane Joe Joes... After a stressful December for her family, it was nice to just have a quiet afternoon.
We didn't get to connect with everyone we wanted. The discipline for us this year was to not over-schedule. MM and I are both introverts, which means we both need down time to recharge. And this season puts a lot of physical demands on the immune system, so we wanted to make sure we didn't get overtired and worn out. MM especially, is working full time on top of all this holiday hooplah. So we just had to plan a few events and be at peace with the fact that we couldn't see everyone, and we'd just have to have folks over at other times.
If all goes well, we will still be in this house next year, so I imagine we'll stick with several small gatherings over the season.
Next: St. Nicholas' Day.