Not Invited for the Holidays – Here’s the Solution!

I see and hear some people complaining about the holidays coming up that it just won’t be the same without a dear departed relative, or even worse, why bother at all anymore?

Other’s whine because they don’t have invitations or anything to do on the holiday.

Not that I don’t have sympathy or empathy for those who have lost a parent or loved one and now are experiencing a first holiday without them, because I certainly do. In my opinion it is in their memory that the holiday should have extra meaning filled with food, family, friends or whatever it takes to make it special.

When I first moved to Houston 30 years ago, I was immediately facing my first Jewish New Year without my grandmother, our family matriarch, and my aunt, the back-up matriarch. (Who really took over so well when my Gram couldn’t do it anymore)

I didn’t have the money to travel back home and so I decided to live the life I wanted to lead. I became a matriarch in training, using my Gram’s recipes to make my first delicious noodle kugel that year along with other tasty stuff. And I invited friends to eat the food and celebrate together, and we had a blast doing just that. At that time, what could have been homesickness or sadness palling the holiday became joyousness. I missed my family, but the familiar recipes brought them closer to me, and now that some are departed, their recipes have them living on with me.

I have entertained quite a bit for all holidays, and I love doing it. Sure, we all complain about the work involved, but the joy I get from creating this life and having others enjoy with us I wouldn’t trade for anything. I have modeled this for my own daughter, and since she lives far away right now, she creates her holidays and her life with friends, calling me to check on recipes. She is a Balabusta in training if I ever saw one.

If she ends up living apart from me long-term, I know she will be able to carry on having happy holidays that she can create herself. (But let’s be honest, I hope that isn’t the case!) But the point is that she is independent enough to do it herself without relying on the matriarch.  My son is too. During his world travels, where ever he finds himself, he will find a holiday celebration to join in on as is the case this year while he vacations in Israel.

In Houston, we are so hospitable, if we hear someone is alone, or new to town, we include them. So no one has to say they have nothing to do unless they choose not to accept.

For those not in Houston or without an invitation wondering why they have nothing to do, I have this suggestion: even if you can’t cook, get on the phone, order a meal from your local deli and invite friends (Jewish or non-Jewish) over and CELEBRATE! Put aside your loneliness or sadness this holiday season. Create the life you want to live and don’t waste another moment not making it happen.

To all of my blog readers who celebrate – L’Shana Tova – a joyous New Year to you all and wishes for a peaceful, healthy and happy year!


  • Arlene…I am always alone on the Jewish holidays. You are an inspiration to me. I loved your suggestions and will try some of them. L’Shana Tova to you and your family!!

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