If I were to write a list documenting people, experiences, feelings, and items for which I am thankful, that list would number in the thousands. Friendship would near the top of the list…only a few notches down from God’s grace, my husband’s forgiving heart, and sound of my kids’ belly laughter.
And friendship begets more list items like: words of assurance, understanding smiles, insightful conversations, extract-the-air-from-my-lungs funny moments, being handed a stain remover pen after spilling purple grape juice down my white shirt, and people who *get* me.
“As iron sharpens iron, so does one man (woman) sharpen another” – Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)
Friendship equals blessings…both being blessed and being the blessing. I find that when I spend time cultivating new friendships and time kindling friendships that span decades (and all those friendships in between) that feelings of warmth and gratitude increase.
This occurs not only because I am thankful for specific friends and memories, but because true friends encourage and inspire me to make better decisions, give more of myself, let go of unrealistic expectations, and cling tightly to what matters above all things.
While calendar squares have a tendency toward overcrowding during the holiday season, scheduling time aside for fun with friends can increase joy. Here are three event ideas.
Pumpkin Recipe Tasting Party
Pumpkin…it’s not just for pies. Invite friends to a potluck style party and ask that each guest bring a dish that uses pumpkin.
Trust me, if you type “pumpkin recipes” into your search engine, you will get lots of choices. Recipes can be sweet or savory: pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin and chocolate chip muffins, pumpkin and curry soup, pumpkin cheese spread, pumpkin stew, and pumpkin humus are a few examples from parties I either hosted or attended.
Each friend can bring a recipe of her choosing or you could assign categories (I.e. Heather and Amber bring appetizers, Sara and Jessica bring a main course, Holley and Ann bring a dessert, and Mary and Lindsey bring a beverage.)
Gratitude Opportunity: Open the event with a prayer thanking God for the friends gathered and for the abundance of food, resources, and creativity that He has given us.
Clothing Swap Party
Who couldn’t use a few new items to spice up her wardrobe? A clothing swap party gives you and your friends a chance to rid your closets of clothing that no longer fit and trade them in for something else.
These parties are easy to coordinate. Invite friends at least a week in advance and ask them to bring any gently worn clothing items with the exception of under garments (if you don’t add this exception, you may be surprised). Shoes, handbags and accessories are also welcome.
All unclaimed objects can be donated to a local women’s shelter. Another option is to calculate how much money you saved by not going shopping and chip in to donate that amount to a local charity or a church mission project.
Gratitude Opportunity: While cleaning out your closet, take time to thank God for clothing…not the fashion aspect, but the act that you have the basic necessities your body needs.
Volunteer Day Party
Serving others together is beautiful way to enhance friendships and make new ones.
Perhaps you and your gal pals could decorate a local nursing home, serve meals at a shelter, or collect and organize baby items at a crisis pregnancy center.
Each community has its own needs, brainstorm with your friends to find creative ways to help meet those needs.
Gratitude Opportunity: Taking the focus of oneself and lavishing others with love and service is a great reminder of Christ’s love for us. It also provides time to recognize the blessings that are easily taken for granted.
What’s your favorite way to spend time with friends?Leave a Comment