Hospitality Hints is a monthly feature on our blog with some helpful hints for being hospitable in everyday life. Our hints may involve inviting people over, but not always! Most of the time, they will be about having a posture of hospitality—welcoming others into our lives.
As we approach the holiday season, we’ve been thinking about who will be around our tables this year for our feasts and celebrations. A few of us grew up in homes where there would always be a stranger at Thanksgiving dinner or a new friend gathered ate pancakes with us on Christmas morning. We love how inviting others to gather around a table shows hospitality in a very New Testament way—Jesus was often seen at tables and the early church was said to break bread and fellowship with one another regularly.
This may all sound like a great idea to you, but you’re unsure of who to invite. Many families already have traditions around the holidays, but there are many people who do not have traditions or for whatever reason are unable to celebrate with their family this year.
Here are a few people to consider inviting to your table:
- College students who live far away. It can be financially difficult to buy a plane ticket home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. International students may not have the opportunity to go home for either holiday. Invite these students to your table for a homemade meal and a look inside your family’s traditions and they’ll love you for it.
- Single parents. Perhaps the kids are celebrating with their other parent this holiday and that means mom or dad will be alone. Invite them to your table so they don’t have to spend the day by themselves.
- Your children’s in-laws. If your married children have opted to spend the holiday with you, consider inviting their spouses’ parents (and siblings) to join you at your table. That way, everyone can cuddle your new grandbaby and your kids won’t have to choose.
- Young adults with out of town family. Many young adults, married or single, live away from their families. Just starting out at their jobs, they may not have the money or time off to travel. Invite them to your table so they can experience family in their new hometown, too.
- Elderly relatives or people at your church or in your community. A lot of older people may not have the option to join family for holiday traditions. The stories they have to share around your table will be worth the invite!
- Your neighbors. Even if they aren’t spending the holiday alone, your neighbors may love to share traditions with you. Invite them over for a meal or two during the holidays and start your own tradition.
Another fun way to invite others to your table is by hosting a non-traditional meal. Serve breakfast on Thanksgiving or lunch on Christmas Eve. Invite police officers, nurses, retail workers, and others who won’t have Thanksgiving night or Christmas Day off work. You can thank them for putting in the holiday hours while sharing a meal.
How have you invited others to your table in the past? How have you been invited? Share with us in the comments!