Last Saturday, Matt and I hosted a Christmas cookie party at our house. We invited neighbors on our block and some other friends from the neighborhood. Several neighbors came, although our newest neighbors did not. I wonder if it was because everyone else had walked over, so there were no cars parked outside to indicate who was there. Also, because it was inside, neighbors couldn't just look down the street and observe what was going on. We realized these factors made the party more appealing for neighbors whom we already know well. It was fun to get to visit with them. It seemed like a safe space for neighbors to disagree on a few topics. They just ended up laughing!
When hosting an event like this, one has to "release the outcome." You cannot measure success by attendance. The whole process of delivering invitations, hosting the event, receiving phone calls from neighbors unable to attend, and then delivering leftover cookies is all Neighboring. When we delivered the invitations we got to have conversations with some neighbors we hadn't seen in a few weeks or months. It took me 2 hours to deliver 4 invitations because I ended up visiting!
Would we do this again? YES, however, we would schedule it earlier in December when people might be less busy. Also, we would deliver the invitations sooner - not just 2 days before the event. We these improvements in mind, we are already speculating on which cookie recipes we might use for next year's Christmas cookie party!