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Opening Doors, Expanding Hearts

Opening Doors, Expanding Hearts

We used to have very few Christmas traditions. With family scattered around the country, we used to spend Christmas morning bundled in the car en route to a celebration elsewhere. Since we moved closer to family in here in Virginia that all has changed. Frankly, we were unprepared for the feelings that would come when we found “home”.

We purchased our house on Dec 1st, three years ago, and rushed through some renovations, knowing we wanted to spend Christmas there. Moving is already hectic and stressful, but the deadline of Christmas felt even zanier. It was so chaotic, my husband wrapped a sheet around our tree and threw it in the moving van (we only lost a few ornaments!), and we began the journey to Virginia.  We moved in Christmas Eve, and to celebrate got a new puppy. The puppy belonged to one of my husband’s clients, and, while we knew adding a puppy to the mix of moving and renovations wouldn’t help matters, the puppy looked just like my beloved dog (whom I loved for 15 years). I knew he was meant to go on the journey to the new house with us.

There’s a moment when you’re moving when you begin to doubt. For me it came when the kids were crying for the old house, and I started to realize my fixer-upper needed more fixing than I thought, and that mortgage was so big, and I freaked out. I thought, “Why did we move? And on Christmas Eve? I barely know anyone here! The new puppy is peeing on the new floor! What have I done?!” There may have been expletives.

But then, the doorbell rang.

What now? To my happy surprise, it was a group of strolling carolers, serenading my stressed out family with “Dashing Through The Snow”. My shoulders eased, my heart softened. The next day, someone dressed up as Santa, and cruised the neighborhood in a firetruck. My kids were ecstatic! Then, neighbors invited us to their Christmas Day open house, where we met lots of new people. One of those new friends invited us to a cul-de-sac fire pit get-together for that evening. Together with our kids and new friends, we roasted marshmallows, drank hot chocolate and started to reflect on our crazy move. In just 24 hours we had moved, made friends, and started to experience Christmas in a totally different way. We knew we had hit the neighborhood jackpot and this was going to be the place of memories for our kids.  

I know most families have age-old holiday traditions, but we are actually in the process of trying to figure out what’s going to be special for us.  My kids have experienced so much change in their lives (we’ve moved four times in my oldest daughter’s eight years). Now that we are close to family, we’re spending Christmas mornings quietly, cozily, at home together.  We really enjoy the time together here.

It’s our turn now.

As the season gets closer, I think of that first day in our new house, and how our community opened its arms to us. I think of their smiles, joyful parties, and their caroling voices, and how each revived our spirits. Even the puppy seemed to respond to the community feeling and stopped peeing on the floor!

I want to give that feeling of community and welcome to someone else here in Virginia. That’s why this season I’m looking to you to help me to help others. I’m hoping you’ll tell me about which local charities are important to you on our Facebook page. I know most local groups can always use more volunteers and more awareness. So let’s all learn about each other’s favorite causes, and let’s all try to reach out and make someone else’s holiday sweet and merry.

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