Holidays in homes are about making lasting memories

I am a big fan of holiday traditions and gatherings. My family celebrated the major holidays in a big way — wonderful meals with all our favorite foods and desserts served on heirloom dishes, everyone tightly squeezed around a beautifully decorated table and a fun holiday-themed activity after dinner.

Many people do not feel their homes are “worthy” of hosting a holiday meal for their friends. They feel they don’t have the space, they don’t have the right decorations or they are not good cooks.

Do you remember where you spent the most memorable holiday dinners? Do you remember what you ate? Do you remember how the home was decorated? Most people don’t remember any of these things — it’s who they spent the time with that they remember.

I will admit I have great memories of fabulous food. But you don’t have to be a great cook to host a good meal. In our family, we set a theme and everyone brings potluck. That way, everyone participates and we get to try a lot of different recipes. This also takes the burden off of the host/hostess from doing all the work. There is nothing worse than being so exhausted from the preparation that you can’t enjoy the meal. Another idea is to purchase your meal from a local grocery store or restaurant.

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A fancy home is not needed to have a great gathering of friends and family. We have celebrated in a small apartment, a cramped mobile home, on a porch and even in an unfinished basement. It’s not the size of the home that is remembered — it’s the special time with family that matters.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a holiday decoration junkie. I have tubs and tubs of décor labeled for every holiday. Over the years, I have collected a lot of holiday décor at yard sales, consignment shops and at after-the-holiday clearance sales. Don’t let the lack of decorations keep you from hosting a great holiday dinner — you can pick things up from the Dollar Store, make your own ornaments or ask family members to bring their favorite holiday item to display at their place setting.

Sharing your home with others is sometimes the greatest gift you can give. In a world where we are constantly on the go, grabbing fast food, and running from one activity to another, it seems like holidays are the only time we get together with family in our homes. Whether sitting around a table or holding my plate in my lap, it’s the great conversations and the privilege of spending time with my family that I cherish.

Are you waiting until your home is perfect before you host a holiday meal or invite friends and family into your home? Don’t wait — your home probably will never be perfect in your eyes and most people really don’t care what your home looks like. They are coming to spend time with you and to make memories together.

I hope you enjoy a memorable holiday season!

Wanda Ott is the 2022 president of the Lynchburg Association of Realtors and principal broker of NextHome TwoFourFive.


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