Part 1 - Friends and Family:
Many New Year resolutions focus on banishing things from your life: extra weight, too much fast food, hours spent sitting on the couch. These can be tough as old habits are hard to break. And getting rid of something is so much harder than welcoming in something new.
My favourite kind of resolutions are ones that add more to your life: more vacation time, more exercise, more fun. And of course, more parties!!
And so, with this in mind, resolve to celebrate more in 2013. Life really is worth celebrating and there are so many moments that deserve a special celebration. I have been reading so much lately about the 'death of the dinner table' or that we have reached 'the end of entertaining'. So many of us have become so busy we have forgotten what all the running around is for.
Take some time to think about the friends, family or colleagues in your life that you are grateful for. Would you like to have your family come together to celebrate a milestone birthday? Are you grateful for your colleagues or employees and want to show them some appreciation and thanks? Or maybe you just feel like its time to have a party just because you want to!
The best way to say thank you, I love you, I appreciate you is to throw a party. Food brings people together. It makes them feel welcome and cared for. When you share food with people who are important to you it becomes an intimate, real, and special experience. We all only get one kick at the can this go-around so make sure you make the most of it and celebrate with the people in your lives.
Over the last 16 years, we have been privileged to be part of some amazing celebrations. And, in thinking about how to incorporate more celebrations into your life, I thought maybe jotting down some party ideas along with some fantastic memories might inspire you. Here goes....
You only turn 50, 60, 70. 80, 90 or 100 once! Make it count and include those nearest and dearest to you. We haven't been part of a centennial celebration yet but have shared in a few 90 year old birthday celebrations. Nothing beats a great theme party for a birthday or a meticulously planned surprise party is always a hit.
We are planning a 60th wedding anniversary for a lovely couple this year. 60 years! Can you believe that? Now that is something to celebrate!
Retirement or going-away party
Celebrating someone as they enter the next phase of their life is important. Parties are often about marking a transition in life and a retirement is both an ending and a beginning. A wishing tree full of good thoughts is something really heartwarming that we have seen at retirements/going away parties.
Baby blessing or Christening
Celebrating the arrival of a new person on the planet is always fantastic. One of the nicest touches we have seen at a baby blessing was a family who set out 18 numbered envelopes along with a stack of note paper and pens. Guests were invited to write wishes or messages to the child on pieces of the note paper and place one into each envelope. The child will then get to open one envelope on each birthday until they are eighteen reading the hopes and wishes that everyone sent them at the christening.
These are exciting, stressful, and always full of good and beautiful drama! We love weddings of all kinds; large tent weddings, smaller intimate sit-down dinner receptions, swishy cocktail receptions at The Art Gallery of Calgary, or casual garden weddings held in a home. And don't forget about engagement parties, rehearsal dinners, and gift-opening brunches!
House warming celebration
Often referred to as a 'house swarming' these are lovely parties to help a family settle into their new home. One of the most interesting housewarming parties we have been a part of was held for every single tradesperson who worked on the building of a house from the people who poured the foundation all the way to the electricians who put in the last light bulb. It was a combination of a thank you party and a house warming and a lovely way to mark the finished and beautiful house.
Summer picnics with delicious food, fantastic punch, and fun games for the kids are an amazing way to create memories to cherish with your family. We have seen some pretty fun ideas for these as welll; goofy t-shirts that everyone has to wear, horseshoe competitions that rival the Olympics, and slideshows and speeches that leave everyone smiling through their tears.
Celebration of life or memorial services
These events are not as joyful as all the ones listed above but we consider memorial services as the most important and personal events that we do. We took part in a lovely memorial service for a woman who loved Opera and Vienna. We helped select the music for the afternoon and made sure it included her favourites and the menu and wines were all Austrian. Her spirit was definitely with everyone that afternoon.
'Just because' parties
These are the best! No occasion necessary - you just really want to enjoy the company of your good friends and family. While taking the time to make a special occasion special is important - sometimes celebrating just for the pure joy of it is enough!
Thanks for reading. Please let us know what celebrations have been the most memorable for you and what special celebrations you have planned for 2013. The next post in this series will provide you with some ideas about how celebrating at work and with your clients and colleagues can be more fun.