Every year for as far back as I can remember, my daughter and I have enjoyed a Christmas tradition. No matter where we lived, we’d find a Christmas Home Tour and spend a glorious Saturday strolling through other people’s abodes. We’d admire or purse our lips at their decorating style, listen to carols, eat treats, and spend the car ride assessing the houses and choosing which elements we would incorporate into our dream home.
This tradition hearkened back to my own mom and me. At that time, we’d walk breathlessly through “rich people’s houses” and imagine what it was like to be them. I swear these holiday forays helped play a part in my drive and ambition. One day, I wanted to own a home just like those houses that were so grand and stately.
So when everything was cancelled this year – including our annual tour – we were despondent. I was determined to beat the blues, so I came up with a new idea: What if my friends and I hosted our own tour? We’d move from house to house, admiring each other’s decorations and spending time in each beautiful home. One group text later, plans were laid and we were all excited to be together, our small group of ladies who all live within 5 miles of one another.
It’s simple: each woman has something small to eat and a beverage of her choice. We had five houses to visit and spent 45 minutes to an hour at each one. Mind you, we weren’t on a schedule. That just seemed to be the perfect amount of time to visit at each home and keep the momentum going.
To say we had a fabulous time is an understatement. Just like on a “real” Christmas home tour, we each pointed out some mementos that were meaningful to us. One of us had a nativity set brought all the way from Israel. One told the story of how during lockdown, she sat right at this particular window (now filled with a child’s drawings) and read stories to her grandson through the window. One friend is Muslim and talked about how important it was for her to share in the holiday spirit with her Christian friends. And my friends heard for the first time how I became engaged, when I showed them the angel ornament proudly displayed front-and-center on my tree, the very angel that at one time held my engagement ring on its head like a halo.
We learned about each other, we laughed, we ate and drank, and we oohed and aahed about our décor and our drink garnishes and how cute everyone looked. Everyone said it was the most fun they’d had since, well, March, when the whole world stopped.
We needed that time together. And we did it safely. Masks, social distancing, refraining from hugs and the sharing of food. It was just a beautiful day as we all came together, something every one of us needed.
I highly recommend this alternative to your usual holiday activities. And you have plenty of time to pull it off, especially since your calendar is likely emptier than you’ve ever seen it this time of year. We have a couple of weeks left before December 25. I urge you to do something similar, something that will bring back the warms fuzzies of this season. Psychologically, it will make you feel so much better.
What it did for me was remind me once again of the “little” things I used to take for granted. It turns out, they are actually very big things.