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Open the Gift of Hospitality This Season

The mad dash of the holidays is on and I’m feeling the pressure – to do, to shop, and to eat, drink, and be merry. After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year and soon it will be over. That’s why I’m thankful for rare moments of quiet like this one. As you read this, I hope you are also enjoying your share of peace this season.

In this unsettling age of disruption, I feel especially fortunate to enjoy the comfort, freedom, and relative prosperity that we Americans consider our birthright — and wonder how I could ever wallow in what I don’t have. But I’m only human, and shopping for glittering goods in shimmering stores can make anyone forget the meaning of “enough.” So, today I’m taking a break from the mall to contemplate the true meaning of Christmas by the glow of a warm fire. Specifically, I’m fixating on one kid-made creation hanging on our tree. This humble cutout manger scene, nestled in the twinkling lights of a starry sky, neatly sums up the meaning of the season.

Among the simpler messages behind the Christmas story and “No room at the inn” is the importance of hospitality — sharing what we have with others, and welcoming them into our homes and lives. This is the animating spirit of Elsmarie Norby’s new book, The Open Gate: The Story of Ojalá Niños, a Creative Community for Otomi Families in San Miguel Viejo, Mexico. I’m grateful to my friends Debora Annino and her late husband, Barry, who co-founded the Little Things Matter Foundation, which sponsored this project to preserve the cultural heritage of a forgotten community. Editing The Open Gate allowed me to lend my gifts to a cause that connects me with what matters most in life — those “little things” I tend to lose track of when focused on first-world problems.

I was honored to interview the residents of San Miguel Viejo and a local historian to capture the history of this community, along with personal stories written by Elsmarie Norby, the founder of the learning programs that teach the indigenous children who live there. Her nonprofit, Ojalà Niños, is central to the mission of the Little Things Matter Foundation, which fosters those “little things” that make life richer: economic opportunity, artistic and spiritual growth, and well-being. Proceeds from every sale of this beautiful bilingual coffee table book bring more of those gifts to people who can use them. (Learn more about their work and the making of this memoir here.)

Speaking of gifts, our services from family archives to private edition books make the perfect experiential gift for bringing families together to create. If you have a story to share, Heirloom Digital is your partner in history preservation and storytelling. We also offer authors a platform to use their stories to fundraise for their favorite causes through our collaboration with EarthPeople Press. Enjoy the gift of a free consultation to explore what our global team can do for you in 2024.

Need help? The Heirloom Digital team is pleased to offer you a free consultation on our personalized storytelling service. Get in touch today to make an appointment and let’s visit. 

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