I grew up in a very musical family outside of Detroit. My grandmother in particular loved singing, some of my earliest memories of Christmas were at her annual Christmas sing-a-long . Children helped shuttle coats to the master bedroom and the kitchen was full of food & cookies. In addition to singing, instruments were brought in; bass, french horn, clarinets, and her piano that we weren’t allowed to touch without washing our hands. People packed in, family & friends. It was such a delightful way to gather and celebrate, it defiantly had a touch of cheer and magic. I loved it and I loved her. Even before she passed we began celebrating the party at my uncle’s house, to this day the tradition lives on even though the crowd has changed over the years. We still end on the twelve days of Christmas and five golden rings is the coveted assignment.
We live just far enough away that we rarely get to attend the Griffin party. So this year I decided to gather up my pockets of people and host my own gathering for Christmas caroling. Just moving (yes that is where I was this fall) I really needed a goal to put our home in some sort of living order. The cabinet doors had been put on just the day before and I still don’t know where half my cooking utensils are. Our new house has a long history of families hosting parties and cherished memories, it’s a bit of a sacred space in many hearts. It was a bit daunting inviting others into an unfinished space with such a story. But opening your home is much less about presenting the perfect as it is making room for people to come together, enjoying each others presence and making new memories. I have spent far too many afternoons alone painting walls, ceilings, cabinets, unpacking boxes, scrubbing, dusting giant cobwebs… The rug full of shoes by the front doorway, fire roaring in the hearth and a kitchen and rooms crowded with people felt just about perfect.
We had at least 5 inches of snow that day, so I am thankful as many were able to make it. In end my heart was overjoyed with the cajon drum and children shaking jingle bells. We sang till we were silly and laughed at the awkward moments where you see an unfamiliar verse to a carol and completely forget how it fits to the tune. It was an affair we would be lucky to repeat, an evening to honor Grandma May and the house tucked in the woods.