Saturday, November 22, 2008

Extending the invitation

After Thanksgiving Dinner last year, my husband and I decided we would henceforth make an effort to invite people over who may not have family or friends nearby to spend the holiday with. Our house was feeling so warm and festive, dinner was so lovely, and it seemed a shame that we didn't have more people over to share it with. A new family tradition. One that I wanted my children to grow up with.

I can't believe I almost forgot about this.

So, today, I started to think of who I should ask. How does one go about inviting someone over? I didn't want to make someone feel self-conscious about it, like, Hey, since you seem like you have no friends or family...

I decided to start with a general probe. I asked a co-worker whether she had family in the area. (Yes) Great! Back to the drawing board.

Driving home, I thought of one of my residents. The more I thought of him, the more I thought he might really appreciate an invitation. I impulsively called him. "Hey, do you have plans for Thanksgiving?"

"Why do you ask?"

It turned out well. He said he really appreciated the invitation and he'd get back to me. He also asked whether this could extend to some of his colleagues. "Sure," I said. Smiling.

I hung up and felt the most amazing rush of, well, euphoria. The thought of opening our home to residents who might otherwise be alone on Thanksgiving filled me with immense joy. I'm hoping, hoping that we'll have extra guests at the table on Thursday. And even if they don't come, this feeling of just extending the invitation is pretty awesome.


  1. I still keep in contact with a nurse from my residency program who invited me into her home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Nice thing for you to do.

  2. What a lovely thought and practice!

    My most memorable Thanksgivings have always been ones that include people I usually don't socialize with: not the good-friend kind of guests, but friend-of-a-friend, no-other-plans, last-minute type of guests.

    What fun for you -- I'm jealous!

  3. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday - and some of my enthusiasm comes from the ability to pay it forward just like you are doing. Families took me under their wing (bad pun, sorry) for several holiday meals when I was in medical school and residency, single and with no family in town - may have had the day off but had to work around it and couldn't travel. Have a great time - your guests will appreciate your efforts more than you know!

  4. I got one of those invites this year. I was almost disappointed to reply that my own dad and sister will be joining me here, and that I wouldn't be able to accept my attending's invitation.

  5. That is really giving in a small but big way. Side note, we don't have a dining room table, are travelling this Thanksgiving (and I'm a vegetarian, not that it's all about turkey by any means!) but I aim to emulate you in other similar ways. Thanks for doing this, posting this, and inspiring all.

  6. Thats awesome. I hope to be able to do that in future (though am going to be home with the family for Christmas). My parents have adopted a few random people for Christmas in the past (which for my father is a huge thing because although hospitable, he is a very private, family only type person, and we don't all get to be together very often).

  7. My mother used to do this for Passover (we would have these huge feasts). She would invite people from her university, random people she knew had no family around, etc. Not necessarily people who practiced Judaism. We, at times, had up to 20 people for dinner. And it was always so much fun. I don't think we ever had a bad Passover dinner

  8. Mommy Doctor, my high school buddies used to invite me to their house for Passover - had a very progressive Catholic upbringing for a couple of years that stressed education about other faiths so it wasn't just about the ability to drink Manaschevitz.

  9. My mom, an L&D nurse, and my dad, a respiratory therapist, always posted flyers at each of their hospitals on Thanksgiving and Christmas: If you don't have something better to do, join us!

    Sometimes we had five or ten. One year we had 40 something join us for Thanksgiving dinner. The best part was, because we didn't have enough turkey, mom made homemade mac & cheese. MMMMMMM!

    Great memories. Thanks for taking me down that road, and good for you for reaching out.

  10. The one thing that always breaks my heart is people who are alone on holidays. We don't have Thanksgiving in Ireland obviously but the world is a better place because of people like you, I can imagine Thanksgiving is an important family holiday. The sooner people realise that we are so small and insignificant on this planet and all we have is each other the better. Well done, you've really cheered me up!


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