I’ve caught myself several times over the last few weeks wishing January away.
The coziness of a fire at night is nice, but the unwelcome chill that greets us each morning as we trudge toward the bus stop makes me want to dive back under the covers as soon as my feet will carry me home again!
Snow and icy roads throw off our schedules. Sickness leads us to cancel much-anticipated get-togethers. UPTV cancels Bringing Up Bates. January is not my favorite.
February is much the same. And March…well, March is hit or miss depending on the weather. What we have here are three consecutive months of NTLFT. That’s Nothing To Look Forward To, for the layperson.
That makes me sad. That’s a whole quarter of a year I’m just enduring. As if God made a throw-away season.
It’s easy to default to auto-pilot when you’re waiting for better weather. Or for there to not be a spamdemic. Or whatever. But I think we’re missing opportunities.
Who says we have to let the calendar decide when we should celebrate?
I want to start new traditions. New reasons to gather and create joy. New experiences, together, making brand new memories.
Life in the dead of winter.
Here are some ideas I have, but honestly, any plan that involves people, food, and love will do.
1. Jamuary. This can be either an afternoon of jam-making or a jam sesh where people bring musical instruments. Know your people and plan accordingly. Have snacks and drinks.
2. Friendsgiving in February. Do it up with turkey and all the fixings, or plan another themed menu. Everyone brings something.
3. Walk, Don’t March. This is when you go on a day-trip to the mountains and hike and either pack a picnic or stop somewhere for lunch together. March will probably have a good day in there somewhere. Maybe plan towards the end of the month. But don’t march around the mountain unless you want strange looks.
Less month-specific ideas:
Craft night once a month. Knit scarves. Make wreaths. Rotate houses. Have snacks.
Supper Club once a month. Rotate houses. Whoever’s hosting cooks.
I Love You Day. A special, sit -down meal with all of your faves. Everyone help with the food. Dress nice. Could take place around another, similar holiday.
Murder Mystery Night. Food.
Un-murdery Game night. Food.
Craft cocktails and fancy hors d’ouevres . Everyone bring one of each to sample!
Clothing swap! Everyone bring a snack or dessert and gently worn clothing you never wear. Take turns choosing an item to bring home.
Masters Class Night! Maybe you’re an old hat when it comes to baking sourdough. Your friend is an expert whittler, and your sister-in-law makes a breathtaking charcuterie board. Take turns hosting and teaching! Send a list of materials for everyone to bring. And…you know this by now…everyone bring a snack!
Hot cocoa, popcorn, and a movie.
Bonfire. S’mores. More hot cocoa.
Top Chef cooking competition. Choose a special ingredient and have everyone come prepared to cook their best recipe! Don’t make it weird unless your friends are really adventurous!
Super Bowl Party. Ok. I didn’t make this one up. And yes, I’m only here for the food and commercials.
Include kids in some of these activities! They might really love some fun new traditions, too!
Whatever get-together ideas are percolating in your head, write them down and pick a date. It doesn’t have to be perfect or expensive. It just needs to create space for connection and joy.
There are no throw-away seasons. Get together with your people and make this winter a whole lot warmer and a whole lot more fun!
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ~1 Corinthians 10:31