As the holiday season approaches, I want to share a lesson I learned from my Grandma Jean: leave the dishes.
All my life, whenever we would eat a meal at her house, whether it was a holiday or a regular day when she made us lunch or dinner, she would tell us to just leave our dishes on the table. Every plate, cup, fork, bowl—everything was left on the table when we finished eating and we would go into the “front room” aka the living room to visit.
If we wanted to play Rummy or Dominos, we would roll in a round table from the bedroom, bring over chairs from the table, and set it up in the living room.
The plates didn’t leave the table.
We would offer to clean up, but she always refused. She would tell us it could wait. She could clean up the mess later or tomorrow, but she wanted to spend her time visiting with us.
Grandma Jean had a small house with a small kitchen that had little counter space and no dishwasher, but it didn’t matter. She didn’t want to spend her time away from us. It would have taken hours to clean up the mess and she wanted to spend that time with her family.
This is something I’ve carried with me and implemented in my adult life. When my friends or family come to visit, we leave the dishes. A lot of times they get carried to the kitchen counters and I always receive offers to help clean—but I always refuse.
Dishes can wait. Your friends and family cannot.
So no matter how big or small your holiday gatherings are this year, I urge you to leave the dishes on the table.
Don’t spend your time washing dishes when you have family to make memories with.
I still think of how many extra hours we got with Grandma Jean because we just left the dishes.