Ornaments, Candles, Tees and More! Order Soon for Christmas Delivery!🎄 ➔

“Have you thought about your centerpiece?”

I stifled a laugh. My mom was scrolling through Pinterest on her iPad, intently focused on thumbnail images of elaborate holiday table settings.

“I mean, I have a candle,” I replied.

“That’s nice,” she murmured, completely oblivious to the amusement on my face. “I’m thinking of making a poinsettia wreath to go around the hurricane candle, with personalized two-tone reindeer ornaments at each place setting that the guests can take home as favors.”

Sounds great, Mom. Have at it.  

For as long as I can remember, my mother has had a gift for hospitality and a love for all things decorative.

She simply loves to serve others, and for her, that means weeks of planning and executing elaborate meals in order to properly entertain company. Based on our most recent conversation, this year would be no different: beginning in October, she would begin planning, organizing, shopping, and cooking for the perfect Christmas dinner.

RELATED: The Holiday Details You’re Stressing About, Mama? Let it All Go.

The family tradition of formal dinners with fine china and elegant place settings goes back multiple generations. I can’t recall a holiday meal at my grandmother’s house that didn’t utilize the most sophisticated things she could afford. For my mother and grandmother, it was a bonding experiencethey both had a gift for serving, and they did it well together. They were gifted in a way that I, seemingly, was not.

You see, to be honest, I didn’t enjoy those dinners.

While being together for family holidays was wonderful, I grew to dread the chronic anxiety that surrounded the meal. I saw the women in my family go through an annual Christmas version of the proverbial astronaut letdown; there was so much build-up to the actual gathering that they couldn’t seem to relax and enjoy themselves. As a consequence, I slowly came to believe that the familial expectations surrounding holiday dinnersfrom the intricate centerpieces to the succulent casseroles–reflected a standard of perfection that I simply could not meet.

And with that perceived standard of perfection came a good deal of resentment and feeling excluded.

For most of my adult life, I simply believed I didn’t inherit the hospitality gene. Every year I had watched my mom’s anxiety climb as the holidays got closer and closer, and I found myself turned off, not wanting to participate in the annual preparations. Yes, my husband and I would attend Thanksgiving and Christmas, but you were more likely to find me in the living room working on a jigsaw puzzle waiting on dinner rather than helping my mom and sister in the kitchen.

The formality of everything made me uncomfortable to the point I avoided the table as much as possible, focused more on how I could survive the day without absorbing my mom’s anxiety.

Yet avoidance is never a great tactic in the long run. I only began to feel more and more excluded from the women in my family, convinced I was inferior in some way because I didn’t know the difference between Royal Albert’s Lavender Rose and Old Country Roses.  

Fortunately, a friend recently challenged me in my conception of hospitality. “You say you don’t have the gift of hospitality,” she said, “but you’re kind and you do what you can to help others in need. Why does hospitality have to equate to putting the soup spoon to the right of the knife?”

RELATED: I’m Done Trying To Make Everyone Else Happy During the Holidays

So this holiday season, I’ll be practicing hospitality.

While my mother’s manifestation of her gift looks different than mine, we both share the desire to love and serve others.

She loves beautiful place settings; I love a “come as you are” atmosphere for a meal.

She loves to cook for guests; I love to get a catered meal so I can have more time for heart-to-heart conversations with friends.

Neither is better than the otherwe have similar hearts, we just serve differently. After all, I am my mother’s daughter.

But just for the record, we’ll be using paper plates when it’s my turn to host Christmas.

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Katelin Lundquist

Katelin Lundquist is, first and foremost, a child of God. She lives in Northwest Arkansas with her husband and 1-year-old son. In her free time, she loves coffee, writing, and dancing when nobody's watching.

In the Chaos of This Holiday Season, Can We Just…Stop?

In: Living
Girl hanging Christmas ornaments on tree

Why does this holiday season feel so weird? Anyone else feeling it? Maybe it’s the fact that I’m pretty sure I just ate turkey and stuffing yesterday and all of a sudden Christmas is a week away. Maybe it’s because I saw the first Christmas tree in stores on . . . oh, I don’t know, September 12th before I even knew what my kid was going to be for Halloween. Maybe it’s because I’m struggling buying gifts for people because I feel overwhelmed with the “things” in my house I’m not amped about giving people “things”. Maybe it’s because...

Keep Reading

To the Mom With Holiday Anxiety

In: Motherhood
To the Mom With Holiday Anxiety www.herviewfromhome.com

I love the holidays. Really, I do. But if I could get past my anxiety surrounding almost every little thing that makes up the holidays, I know I could love them just a tad bit more. OK, enormously more. Year after year, I attempt to plan out shopping, card-writing and get-togethers ahead of time. I attempt to organize my house, our plans, and our gift giving ideas more efficiently. I attempt to decorate more creatively, save more money, and of course, stay more calm—but year after year, I fall short of my own expectation and end up making myself feel even worse....

Keep Reading

5 Ways Stressed Out Moms Still Make the Holidays Happy

In: Living, Motherhood
Family in matching Christmas pajamas

As a therapist who specializes in helping moms, I hear day in and day out about the unique personal struggles EVERY kind of mom is experiencing in the time of COVID-19. We are struggling to decide who to spend the holidays with or maybe making the gut-wrenching decision to not spend time with family and friends at all. We are trying to find ways to keep up our kiddos’ spirits when we struggle to find ways to keep up our own holiday cheer. Here are some creative ways that stressed out moms like you are trying to keep the holidays...

Keep Reading