A lost art is found
Years ago, we used to throw a “Thanksgiving for Friends.” It was always so nice to visit with friends whom I wished to see more often. Everyone contributed to the cause, and we’d have a fun night of poking fun, prodding for juicy details, and reminiscing about good times.
Years went on, and some moved on (literally and figuratively). Mostly, we all became busy with growing careers and families. Slowly but surely, we found ourselves busier and occupied with giving thanks with family — not any less so for friends.
It had been a couple of years since we gathered as peers around a table. I recently found myself nostalgic when I received a text from a friend:
HM: Hey Sevie! I hope you can make it! You’ve been invited to Friendsgiving Potluck 2017. <link to invitation>
SZ: This looks fun! Let me check with my better half to see if he can make it!
The evening was delightful. Friends, old and new, dined al fresco under strings of lights with our table garnishing inspired by nature. We filled in the gaps with stories of growing children and treasured moments. There were lots of shiny memories to take away.
But more so than a lively house party with a killer buffet line (which is always OK in my book!), the spirit of the night was truly beautiful. Our time and energy were spent connecting with inspiring people who make this life we’re living a bit sweeter.
For a few hours, the stress of work, inundation of emails and caregiver roles vanished, and we were free to drop barriers, breathe and enjoy the stars. Laughing and staying later than we should was easy on these dry bones.
I awoke the next morning with a new appreciation for the art of Friendsgiving. The clinking of cups and breaking of bread stands in stark contrast to the traditional (yet no less fulfilling) stuff-myself-until-I-feel-the-need-to-pass-out-watching-football Thanksgiving Day.
I encourage you to initiate a time to give thanks to your friends and co-workers – or accept an invitation if invited. It doesn’t have to be at any certain time of year. Christmas in July is widely successful, right? A few ideas to try include:
- Go for a Thanksgiving walk. Hey we need to burn a few extra calories anyway…
- Get to work! Chop firewood or prepare a bonfire for when the sun sets.
- Make something from scratch. We all know where to buy biscuits, but homemade biscuits or pie is always a crowd pleaser.
- Create thankful placemats by asking guests to decorate brown bags with what they are thankful for. Then turn them into thankful hats for lots of laughs!
- Create a thankful tree or decorative area by letting guests write what they are thankful for on colorful leaves and hanging them.
- Dress up. Whether it be full on costumes, funny hats or a bit of facepaint, the object is to lighten up and have fun!
- Let the kids draw and color on rolls of paper for a cute twist on table linens. Bonus: These can be rolled up and thrown away when you are done for easy clean up!
- Spend your time relaxing instead of in the kitchen and go for the potluck. Ask each guest to bring a dish. You’ll be delighted in the variation of your holiday spread.
At the end of the day, the point is to make Friendsgiving your own. Maybe it is a hike instead of a potluck. Maybe everyone meets at a restaurant or around the fire. I’ve included a brief slideshow at the end of the article to show some of the aformentioned ideas brought to life.
Get out of your box. Challenge yourself. Treat yourself. Give Thanks For Friends.
Editorial Note: For those this holiday season who are aching — maybe it’s sickness or mourning or financial burden, please know that our heart breaks with yours. Know that you are not alone and that someone out there is praying for you and sending positive energy your way.