Next to Thanksgiving, my guess is grocery food chains profit the most during Christmas! From candies, fudge, and cookies to traditional casseroles, palettes of all pleasures are sure to be satisfied by the tastes of Christmas. My family knows there are certain foods we enjoy only at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we anticipate the seasons to enjoy those foods. If the matriarchs in my family decided to forgo the gumbo for our family Christmas dinner, a mutiny would be inevitable. So while you may see something on Pinterest or on The Food Network that engages your Christmas creativity, you might want to make sure the traditional staples are still on the menu! Why do our Christmas cuisine traditions matter? You might be surprised. In the fascinating book, “Practicing Hospitality: The Joy of Serving Others,” Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock present several influences of family traditions. Among their list are: 1) traditions foster stability and security by establishing routines and 2) traditions emphasize God’s sovereign work, and I would add multi-generational thread, in our families.
The degree and complexity of Christmas cooking will look different as dictated by seasons of life. For me, knee-deep in the child-raising season, my Christmas hospitality centers on my immediate family, lest I discredit my witness. You read that correctly. Proverbs 31:27 clearly states a wise woman will look well to the ways of her own household. I do not want to be a Christian event planner; I want to embrace biblical principles of hospitality. And if hospitality is defined as extending generosity and kindness to strangers, my witness would be discredited if I neglected generosity and kindness to my own family. How and why we as women manage and provide for our homes should separate us as believers. My husband is crucial in filtering through what I ideally would like our Christmas dinners to look like and what realistically can happen in my season of life. If you read my first tip for Treasuring the Season, you’ll remember that the gap between expectations and reality is usually filled with anger and frustration. Therefore, wisely enlist someone as your sounding board to keep those two in balance.
Ultimately, the goal of spending hours in the kitchen around Christmastime is to encourage your family to gather around the table in fellowship. When all is said and done, life around the table enhances God’s gift of relationship. If you are using the Christmas Countdown resources to help in planning for Christmas this year, then next week while you are planning out your holiday meals and possibly even doubling Thanksgiving recipes to freeze for Christmas dinners, I pray God will grant you excitement and anticipation for what the food will bring, fellowship with each other and with Christ! Here’s to Christmas food junkies on mission!
 Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock, Practicing Hospitality : The Joy of Serving Others (Wheaton, Ill.: Good News Publishers, 2007), 93.
 Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:2, Proverbs 12:14, Matthew 10:42, Hebrews 6:10.
 Joanne Thompson, Table Life : Savoring the Hospitality of Jesus in Your Home (Edina, MN: Beavers Pond Press, 2011), 15.