Paper Plates and Paradigms

Several years ago, I attempted hosting my whole entire family for Christmas.

Big family. Big mistake.

Sadly, I spent most of the holiday sequestered in my kitchen, elbow deep in frustration and dishes. Limited in energy and low on time.

My family members did their best to try and help me out, but the pie-in-the-sky plans I had made ahead of time had no hope of coming to fruition. Epic Pinterest fail and major mom meltdown.

You see, my ideals were out of whack, as well as my expectations – of myself, and my guests.

And when I couldn’t achieve the picture perfect Christmas, my ideals found me sitting in a tear-stained heap, hiding in my car out in the garage.

So this last year, before hosting yet again, I was determined to change a few things.

Number one, my attitude. I wanted to have the heart of servant coupled with the energy of an engaged mama, daughter and auntie. I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines of sledding trips and ski adventures; the mom who missed all the fun, who had to see the amazing pictures at the end of the day and hear all the epic adventures secondhand. I wanted to play a key role. To be an integral part to the knitting together of precious family memories.

Number two. I decided to alter my approach. I decreed to myself, my husband and my kids, that it was high time to say goodbye to all those blessed ideals and hello to a more mom-friendly mindset.

Enter the scene: disposable plates. Oh hallelujah! And the angels did sing.

Gone were the leering stacks of dinner plates and dessert dishes. Gone was the stress of setting the picture perfect dinner table. Gone was my stinky stanky attitude in loving and caring for my family.

Now the new fangled dinnerware was still pretty. No need to sacrifice style on such a special occasion. But my process was more straightforward. I decided to focus my energies on our two main meals: Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning brunch. Everything else was streamlined and ultra-simplified.

But what a paradigm shift and game changer. For my sink and for my soul.

Who knew that such a little alteration would make such a big difference to me as the host? But it did.

We didn’t have as many side dishes as I normally would have made, but somehow we still had plenty of delicious food and a delightful overabundance of giggling and laughter.

So here’s my question for you. As you look toward this upcoming holiday season, what are some areas you could let go? Not in a lazy hospitality way, but in a fully soaking in the moment sense.

Maybe this translates into something other than paper or plastic plates for you. Maybe it means cutting back on Christmas décor. Or time spent in the kitchen baking. Maybe it looks like using your old college Christmas tree … the artificial Charlie Brown one … so you don’t spend the entire month of December cleaning up the constant stream of pine needles that takes over the carpet and irritates your OCD sensibilities.

But I want to challenge us this season to look for those things that will help us better engage with our people. To be intentional in loving and serving. To turn eyes toward the Savior and away from our own efforts.

Let’s endeavor to leave behind purposeful footprints of love instead of copious amounts of dirty dishes. So that remembrance and hope may have the last word.

 

Enter your email address to get your playlist!




Follow

Anne-Renee Gumley

Anne-Renee is a full-time mom who works part-time at her family's party store. She has two children who keep her laughing, a husband who keeps her smiling, and an itch for writing that just won't go away.
Follow

Latest posts by Anne-Renee Gumley (see all)

About Anne-Renee Gumley

Anne-Renee is a full-time mom who works part-time at her family’s party store. She has two children who keep her laughing, a husband who keeps her smiling, and an itch for writing that just won’t go away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *