Today’s post has nothing to do with intuitive eating or functional medicine. Or rather, it does — when we eat intuitively, we have more time and energy to invest in the things that matter, like family, friendships, and relationships in general. Plus, good cheer is the best kind of medicine! Since this weekend is a holiday weekend, I thought it would be fun to share some of the ways I like to celebrate…
I am an introvert for sure but I love hosting parties. I enjoy coming up with new ideas for decorations and themed food, and I enjoy gathering folks together to have fun. I’m definitely not an expert party planner and have had numerous flops (like that time I threw a whale themed baby shower for my sister. It wasn’t a joke, and I did not put two and two together until a few year after her son was born. I still don’t know why she hasn’t disowned me.) But I still think it’s fun, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that parties don’t have to be perfect to be fun and affordable.
So, here are five ideas for throwing your own cost-effective but maximally enjoyable gatherings — whether you’re celebrating something in particular, or just looking to spread cheer!
1. Easy DIY Decorations: put it on a string
I made these decorations for a baby shower out of items I already owned: paper, coffee filters, food dye, and string. I free-handed the letters on some scrapbook paper I had on hand (I keep a few pads of Colorbok paper in my craft drawer), dyed and dried the coffee filters with blue food dye, and then taped it all to some yarn. If you don’t like drawing letters, you can print out the font you like on regular printer paper and either cut them out as-is or use them as stencils.
2. Minimalist Food: keep it simple
This cake wasn’t really a cake at all, though I think baked goods can and should be part of any and all occasions. One of my favorite styles/themes for baked goods lately is minimalism. I just love the rustic feel of simple, white icing that isn’t perfectly smooth. I was a fan of The Little Red House Blog back in the day, and was so inspired by Sheena’s cakes. I think this plain white frosted cake would look so cool with rainbow candles for a birthday, anniversary, or anything else. Plain white with pops of color is a theme I’ve been loving lately.
3. Mix and Match Your Friends
I tend to be a little socially anxious. I feel funny when I’m around new people, and I think a lot of that has been a consequence of stories I told myself about where my value as a human came from. Thankfully, I’m working through a lot of that, and it’s helped that I’ve had new, positive experiences with diverse groups of people.
Because of my own nerves, I used to think everyone had to be friends already if they were to gather together in one place. But that’s not exactly how you go about meeting new people…duh! In grad school, my roommates and I threw a Halloween party and we each invited our own respective groups of friends. Everyone had a blast. My husband and I did the same thing when we were dating, and again, everyone enjoyed it! People are much better at mixing it up than I gave them credit for, and I learned an important lesson in the process.
4. Celebrate “Just Because”
Beyond my sweet sixteen, I pretty much viewed birthdays as “blah.” Driving was pretty much the last age-related privilege that I was enthusiastic about, and I never felt any different on September 4th than I did on September 3rd. In my eating disorder, I also found birthdays particularly stressful because of all the food around. (I’m so glad I’m now able to relax and enjoy a meal/snack/dessert with friends!)
A few years ago, I read a post on Ethan Renoe’s blog that really changed my perspective about birthdays. One of the most notable lines was this:
It is a valuable thing to feel celebrated for existing.
Celebrating birthdays affirms the value of humanity. It says, “You are valuable simply because you exist.” When God created each of us, he did so with intention, with purpose, and with great love. Celebrating birthdays affirms that truth about each and every person.
That post changed my perspective not only about birthdays, but about celebrations in general. I’ve never been too thrilled about “Hallmark” type holidays…for all the reasons people typically criticize those types of holidays. But then, one day, I realized that it doesn’t have to be about the decorations or the historical significance. (Casimir Pulaski Day, anyone?) Gathering together is valuable simply because it celebrates and affirms the value of life. (Social distancing has highlighted this for me! What about you?) Each day is a gift, each relationship is special, and I am so very grateful for the life I’ve been given. That’s worth celebrating!
So nowadays, I’m all about the get-togethers…the dinner parties, the camping trips, the mix-and-match Memorial day parties. Even though fireworks are cancelled this year in my city and all the surrounding suburbs, and even though I’m not a particularly patriotic person, I’m looking forward to gathering with friends and family and celebrating the gift of life.
What’s are your favorite ways to celebrate?