Since we are the parents of young children who get up at the same EARLY time every morning regardless of when we go to bed, staying out late on New Year’s Eve has become something that just doesn’t work well for us.  However, Luke and I also hate to miss out on a chance to celebrate with friends.  So, last year, we decided to begin a tradition of hosting an annual New Year’s Day potluck style brunch with neighbors. Since most people are off of work that day and are awake by mid morning despite how late they stayed out the night before, it has turned out to be a good time for people to get together and a great way to start off the New Year!   
 
The first year we sent invitations to those we knew on our street.  This year, we invited everyone on our street, whether we knew them or not.  What a treat it was to get to know those who came and to build tighter bonds within our little community of neighbors. Get-togethers like this have given us more to talk about with our neighbors than just the weather. When we go out to get the mail or grab the trash cans, we can actually connect and be a part of our neighbors’ lives instead of just a passerby on the outside of it. 
 
I recently read a quote:  “Make yourself available and you will be surprised what doors – and hearts – will open.” Luke and I desire greatly to be available to our neighbors…to talk with, listen to, encourage, or help them in a time of need.  I believe most of us desire to know and connect with those around us.  Here are some ways our neighbors and friends have worked to foster this:

  •  A dear friend of mine started hosting monthly soup suppers during the fall months with the people on her street.  Three neighbors volunteer to each cook a big pot of soup and the three pots are more than enough to feed the 25-30 attendees.
  • A few of our neighbors started setting up lawn chairs in their driveway on weekends and summer evenings and sitting out front while their kids play.  When we see them out and aren’t doing anything, it is such a joy to be able to know we can just walk over and join in the conversation and the fun. 
  • Some other neighborhood “bond building” ideas are organized games with the neighbor kids in common areas or nearby parks, progressive dinners, summer potlucks in the street, Christmas caroling,  and other holiday parties and events. 

How is the bond among neighbors in your community? Are there other fun things that you do with neighbors during the year to connect? If so, I would love to hear about them or if you want more details on hosting some of the events I mentioned above, let me know.
 
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

 

By Katie Miller

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