Welcome to December and the Neighborhood

You know how each month there are those silly designations celebrating different causes?
Well, December happens to be Hi Neighbor Month. Not quite sure why they would put such a designation on such a cold month, but any opportunity to reach out and get to know those who live around you is a good opportunity.
This month is bustling with holiday activities, so why not spread some joy around the neighborhood?
Here are some simple things you can do to reach out to those residing around you.

Open door with a welcome mat outside

Your next best friend could be a house away.

*Bring your neighbors a nice holiday card so they get to know your name.
*Bake them some cookies or other homemade treats to share.
*Offer your neighbor a small plant or a bouquet of flowers. Some beauty during these barren months in Chicago is lovely.
*Host a holiday open house. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy; just a couple desserts and some coffee and you’re set to get to know your neighbors. Print some flyers with the details and stick them in your neighbors mailboxes.
A couple years after we moved into our Chicago home, a couple neighbors a few doors down sent us a holiday card inviting us into their home one evening in December. We weren’t going to go; they were much older than us and we didn’t know them at all.
But we did go, and I’m so glad we did. As a result of a couple hours of our time, we became more connected with our community. We made some great friends, learned some gossip about the former owners of our home and became more comfortable in our surroundings, knowing there were others looking out for us.
As a direct result of that gathering, we now have a wonderful gentleman who clears our sidewalk of snow every winter, a lovely lady who helps me garden each spring, a family I trust enough to leave a spare house key with, and several homes I know I can always turn to for the occasional emergency egg.
December is also National Stress Free Family Holiday Month. Personally, I find meeting new neighbors to be less stressful than spending holidays with my family, but that’s a whole other story.
Do something this month to be a good neighbor. Even a friendly wave hello can work wonders and change the feel of your neighborhood.