I have always loved people… getting together with friends & family, making new acquaintances. I haven’t been as active & worked on building up the community around me nearly as much as I would like to. Our schedules have often restricted us from having the parties we would love to have. But I need to face it: there’s also some selfishness, laziness, & a hesitation to commit. I don’t feel like the work it would take to get the house “company ready,” I don’t feel like the stress of organizing a party, or the work involved in cleaning up the aftermath. And then there’s the fear that comes along with it: “What if nobody wants to come?” often pops up in my mind.
But life is made up of people. It’s those we care about, & those we haven’t met yet. It’s the friends we love, all sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows & laughing. Sharing life with those around us is so important, & I don’t get to do it enough. Recently, I realized that I don’t want to let weeks & months go by without cultivating the amazing community around us. Hubs & I decided to change that, so I’ve come up with a list to get me started. I hope it will help you too!
1) Make it Happen.
If you have an idea for a fun party or gathering, the only thing stopping it is you! (Preaching to myself on this one!) I’m the one who’s not opening my calendar app & seeing what day is free. The first thing to do is to set a date. Make an event on Facebook, & start planning!
2) Make it Easy.
Pick a gathering that’s simple to put together! Don’t go all-out on a costume party or super-fancy themed dinner. To goal is to build community, not your wardrobe! Try a potluck, where everybody brings a dish so you don’t have to worry about what to cook.
3) Make it Cheap
Whatever even you decide on, it shouldn’t break the bank! If you want to decorate, use leftover tissue paper to make flowers, or hang the light strings you use at Christmas. Ask friends to bring their outdoor lanterns & lawn chairs.
4) Make it Stress-Free
If your house has toys strewn around & your friends are starting to pull in… don’t worry about it! They know how to walk over the train tracks! All that really matters is a clean bathroom. I guarantee: your guests will NOT leave because your house looks lived-in.
5) Make it Simple
Now is NOT the time to pull out the fine china! Use those paper plates from two birthdays ago, & have a big black trash bag that’s easily accessible. Don’t be afraid to ask for help cleaning up, these are friends! Chances are, they’re having a blast & want to get together again.
6) Make it Fun.
We have a community with some amazing musicians around us. I grew up spending many evening clustered around the piano, singing harmony with friends & family. Do you & your friends have a fun activity in common? You can have a mini-concert in the backyard if you ask friends to bring their instruments!
So, here’s a challenge for you: just start! Make a date for your next community-gathering. I’ve decided to stop putting it off, & make something fun happen… & I’m encouraging you to do the same! Within a few weeks, you’ll probably see some pictures showing up in my social media feed of our very first gathering at our new home.