Korean Barbecue on Christmas day probably doesn’t sound like your typical Christmas meal, but that’s how I spent one Christmas as an “orphan” college student. With my family living in another country, I was planning on spending Christmas Day just like any other day. But my friend’s family invited me over for Christmas dinner and to spend the evening with them. This was a no-brainer for me as I was a fan of Korean barbecue (and any free food in general as a poor college student). What I remember most about that Christmas, however, was the hospitality of the family and how the simple invite made me feel so loved and part of a community.
This season is a time where we are encouraged to focus on others. Many of us serve, volunteer and give to charities. We’ll buy toys for under privileged kids, serve at a soup kitchen for the homeless, or donate money to the salvation army people ringing the bells outside the malls. It’s a festive season where many go the extra mile for others. Then when Christmas day finally comes, the focus usually turns toward our families, food and gifts…lots of gifts. And there is no need to feel bad about gaining Christmas food pounds because New Year’s is just around the corner and we can just make our annual resolution to lose weight!
All this sounds great, doesn’t it? Serve others during the Christmas season, and then enjoy family, good, and gifts on Christmas day. But what about merging the two? Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with spending time with family on Christmas, of course. In fact, I believe that that is a blessing and should be a value and priority. But what if you could do all your planned activities on Christmas day and still be a blessing to others? How you ask?
Specifically, there are five groups of people that probably don’t have any plans and are hungrily waiting to be invited over for a Christmas meal. This may be the easiest and most impactful way to give Christmas to someone in a very personal way. I know I still remember and am grateful for when different families welcomed me into their homes over the holidays.
Here are five groups of people that you may want to consider inviting over on Christmas…
1. International students
Most international students won’t go home for the holidays and they will likely be eager to say yes to anything American related. They love to experience American holidays and you can also learn about their culture and heritage. It will be a beautiful multi-cultural Christmas.
2. Low income families
There are many families that can’t afford a good Christmas meal. You may know some in your church or through a friend. Invite them over and see a twinkle in their eye when they enjoy that meat!
3. Friends without family in the area
I fit in this category. My parents are out of the country and so holiday meals were always a question mark for me, especially before having a family of my own. If you know that your friends are without family, try sending them an invite.
4. College students not going home
College students will never say no to a free meal and they should be more than willing to help clean up afterwards too!
5. Homeless person
This is probably the “scariest” and hardest group of people to serve and invite but they may be the most grateful people at the dining room table. It will give you a different perspective of Christmas and one that you will never forget.3