Won’t You Be My Neighbor? By Anna Osborn, LMFT, owner of Life Unscripted Counseling
Growing up, my mom would always spend a day baking Christmas cookies for my dad’s office. My sisters and I would love to jump in and help. We would start the day fully involved, but by mid-day we were distracted and tired. Therefore, my poor mom was left to finish baking dozens upon dozens of cookies ranging from rum balls to peanut butter blossoms.
And as most family traditions go, I found myself picking up the same holiday routine when my kids were just a few years old. As nutty as it may sound, I usually spend a day baking Christmas cookies for my husband’s office and most of the neighbors on our block. 18. ardentforlife.net - Holiday 2018
My kids, true to form, start off full steam ahead (in terms of wanting to help) and then peter out mid-day. Of course, they always perk back up when it’s time to deliver them down the block.
It was just happenstance that I started baking for the neighbors. In my overzealousness—the first year that I baked for my husband’s work—I had so many cookies that I had to send them somewhere. Because I am self-employed, I had no “co-workers” to take cookies to, so I decided, hey… the neighbors might like them. That is how that tradition was born; really thought out and intentional, right? Well, we’ve been doing this annual baking for our neighbors for several years now. The most unexpected thing that happened is the neighbors came by our house, in the weeks that followed, and delivered us a gift. Whether it be a bottle of
wine, a toy for my kids, or homemade lumpias (still warm out of the pan) the neighbors all showed up generous and excited to share. In fact, one neighbor stopped by three times to try and deliver something because she wanted to say “hello” and not just leave it on the porch. To say I was surprised by this return of generosity, the first year, was an understatement. To be completely honest I was quite uncomfortable when they brought gifts over, because it wasn’t the reason that I started making the goodies. I mean we didn’t bake the cookies in the hope we would get some treats given back to us by our neighbors. And we certainly didn’t “need” any of the things that were given to us. Now don’t get me wrong, we absolutely enjoyed them (and neighbor, you know who you are, please keep the lumpia coming), but we definitely didn’t expect them.