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Celebrations: Blowouts or Cozy?
My favorite fun times throughout the year have always been cozy celebrations shared with my family and friends. They’ve involved moderate preparations, moderate costs and major amounts of fun. In this country, though, many people can’t seem to do anything at a moderate level. Want to talk real football? You’ve gotta be talking about the Super Bowl!
Want to discuss a nice holiday celebration? Let’s plan a blowout Christmas party with thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts under the tree! Let’s mail out hundreds of hand-signed custom-designed cards the month before. We’ll work hard to pay off all the debt in time for next Christmas.
Do you have a child graduating from kindergarten? Well, then it’s time for a whole-class outing to the local Party Palace to celebrate! Never mind that the celebrated youngster has to miss her nap in order to attend. She then becomes whiny, and starts throwing cupcakes at random passersby midway through the celebration.
What in the world are we doing, people?
What Is a Basic Celebration?
Merriam-Webster defines celebrations this way:
Definition of celebrate
1 :to perform (a sacrament or solemn ceremony) publicly and with appropriate rites |A priest celebrates Mass.
2 a :to honor (an occasion, such as a holiday) especially by solemn ceremonies or by refraining from ordinary business | The nation celebrates Memorial Day.
b :to mark (something, such as an anniversary) by festivities or other deviation from routine |celebrated their 25th anniversary
3 :to hold up or play up for public notice |her poetry celebrates the glory of nature
When I read these definitions, I don’t think of over the top spending orgies. I don’t want to share every occasion with my best friend’s cousin’s babysitter and 600 other close buddies. Now, it’s true that I have a form of autism known as Asperger Syndrome. This causes a deficiency in social skills. (NOTE: Please keep this in mind if we ever meet in person. There is a nice but anxious person hiding behind all that quiet!) I also have anxiety and other issues that affect my abilities to deal with large crowds of people and loud noisy environments.
Celebrations, Family, Friends
Nonetheless, I love spending time with people about whom I care — celebrating my family and my friends. The kind of celebrations that I think are most important always involve showing care and love to others, honoring those who deserve to be honored, and using fun to bond with those who are important to me and my family.
These kinds of joyful occasions don’t look like a Hollywood extravaganza. They involve kind interactions, good food, sharing good memories, and providing for everyone’s needs. In other words, think more Hallmark than Lucasfilm LTD Special Effects!
I like to pay attention to special lighting on these occasions. The led string lights, sometimes called fairy lights, are a really attractive way to warm up an area without losing the coziness of lower lighting. If the celebration is being held outside — as in a backyard wedding or a 4th of July picnic — patio light strings are a wonderful option also.
My favorite fun times don’t involve huge dinner parties, but small snacks targeted to the group involved and the occasion being celebrated. Appetizers followed by cookies makes just enough of a dent in the appetite to stave off the need for a large meal for an hour or two. Ice cream suppers are famously fun and would be a great time to borrow ice cream makers so different flavors can be available.
We used to have family friends who, once a year in fall, invited our family to their home to share a favorite cake and coffee, just to reconnect.
Making Memories and Sharing
If it’s a family celebration — which are my favorite kind — I love grouping family photos about the room where we gather. It’s especially fun if the photos in each group tell a story. When my children were young, for example, I often took photos while we were in the mountains, sledding. Perfect for a hot-cocoa-with-marshmallows-and-funny-stories-fest near Christmastime!
Small family-only celebrations (or family and long-loved family friends) can be some of the best. While some people are gregarious enough to want thirty or forty of their closest friends roaming through their manse before being seated in the Grand Dining Hall, some of us are less outgoing. I want to encourage you to put a bit of effort into creating a happy celebration of some sort on a regular basis.
The joy of small celebrations is that they can be impromptu, as well as cozy. They also strengthen family ties and build memories on top of memories. The preparation is fairly minimal, as is cleanup. And it all results in our having even more wonderful memories!