One way to get closer to friends is to start a regular tradition that you share with them. This allows everyone to look forward to one specific event and helps you connect on a different level. Friends holidays can come in all shapes and sizes and can get established on purpose or by accident.
Friends holidays are times when you put aside the challenges of your schedule and dedicate time for your pals. The more established the tradition, the more you look forward to it and the less likely you are to schedule over it.
Friends holidays are different from just a regular weekly dinner or meeting for drinks once a month. They're bigger and more intentional. Sometimes these events get bigger and you invite more friends or spouses along. Other times, the same group of friends gets together year after year.
The Holidays That Come From Average Events
Sometimes a friends holiday begins simply because a certain event happened and was memorable. In order to recreate it after that, friends plan out a way to remember it and talk about what happened.
For instance, let's say you met for drinks one night and everyone had a really bad day. One person got dumped, another had a rough time at work, and you were all feeling a little blue. But as you drank and laughed, everyone's mood seemed to turn around. You decided to recreate this type of night once a year and call it your "Pity Party Dinner" or something silly like that.
Choosing one night a year to have dinner and cheer each other up then becomes a tradition. Or maybe you wanted to invite everyone over for Thanksgiving, but you burned the turkey, the TV went out, and your friend forgot to bring their side dish. The day goes on to become the "Non-Thanksgiving Day" because you didn't get to eat turkey or watch the game, but you did spend time laughing about it all later with friends. A new tradition has been born.
Some Holidays Start With a Plan
Most of the time, friends plan a holiday or get-together intentionally, and it continues every year to eventually become a tradition. This is a great way to test out some events to see which could be something you'd want to continue year after year.
The friends holiday doesn't have to be just once a year, either. This group of guys created a "Nautical Thanksgiving" that they celebrate twice a year. They get together over long weekends in the summer.
Creating a friends holiday is a great idea for:
- A group of friends that doesn't see each other often
- Busy friends that have started families and need a quick getaway
- A group of people that has been through a lot together
- A new group of friends that you want to get better acquainted with
If you can do the event year after year, you'll want to keep some kind of visual record you can look back on and see how much you've all changed. In addition, have your friends record their thoughts. You don't need something lengthy (remember the purpose is to just have a fun record of events you can look back on later) and you definitely don't want to make the job of recording thoughts or photos a chore so that one person can't join in the party.
Some ideas for record keeping include:
- Everyone taking pictures and then uploading to a picture sharing site. This allows everyone to order whichever pictures they want.
- A scrapbook that one person updates year after year with photos and thoughts.
- A journal in which each of you records your thoughts.
- A blog where you post short video clips or pictures.
The Makeup of a Good Friends Holiday
Good friends holidays vary depending on the people involved, but typically have elements like:
- Time away, such as weekend travel to a new destination
- A theme or central idea for the types of things you'll be doing
- Buy-in from all friends (you don't want your friends to be no-shows)
- Fun! (If it's a downer, no one will want to do it again)
While structure is important in the planning stages, you need to be flexible once the event starts happening. Don't get too stuck on your agenda if your friends are having a good time and don't want to drop whatever it is they're doing. Perhaps you'll start out with a few activities but during the course of the weekend you'll end up sitting around a table just reminiscing, and that's okay.