There has always been a big hustle and bustle during the holidays in the south. Throughout my childhood, I remember going to no less that three to four houses on Christmas day! Not to mention my cousins who would do Christmas family activities in the weekends leading up to Christmas. My Christmases went this way all the way until 2007 when I was living in Scotland an ocean away from my family. Edward came and we had a trip throughout German Christmas Markets in Berlin, and enjoyed a quiet Christmas day in Amsterdam.
We spent time with all my new friends upon returning to Edinburgh, and celebrating the New Years with them. That Christmas changed my perspective on the holidays. It’s not just for family, but friends that are family as well. Now I try to create time with my friends and family. Especially now that some of my friends have moved away, and other have begun families of their own.
For the past three years, finding time for friends during the holidays has become an elaborate well thought out schedule. Not making this time any less meaningful or taking away from my family. (In some cases, we join in on our family events interchangeably!) Here are some of my ideas for making time for friends during the holidays!
Friend Dinner date:
My mother has always done this with her high school fiends, and we have adopted this as well. Finding a spot three or four nights from Christmas Eve we will meet at a central restaurant and enjoy some merry cheer together. This has the benefits of no one having to host or clean up. The restaurant can be centrally located as well. We can also invite the whole group seeing many wayward friends at the same time.
It’s fun to play Dirty Santa, take selfies, and catch up with all our friends at the same time.
Early Morning Coffee Date:
There are several adorable coffee spots around the Mississippi Gulf Coast. My friends will pick one for a coffee date early in the morning before all the holiday fuss begins or errands we need to run. We pause, and enjoy the quiet before the tinsel so to speak. Our favorites are The Greenhouse on Porter, Cat Island Coffee Company, Bank House Coffee, and the newly opened Coast Roast. The warm December weather this week, makes The Greenhouse on Porter a pleasant coffee spot.
After Christmas Shopping:
One five year tradition I have with my best friend is to hit the after Christmas sales. We use this time to restock Christmas bags, cards, gift wrapping, and tissue paper. It is tradition for us to hit up Starbucks before 6 A.M. to get to Target or Pier One as the doors open. We usually can shop until lunch enjoying each others company. It is never a conflict since all holiday events are finished, and everyone is tucked soundly in bed.
Walk off the Holiday Feast:
Whenever the television loses its luster, and our pants begin to feel tights we decide to take walk. Just a few hours out of the day to stretch our legs on the beach or a local trail is a nice break from the holiday rush. Being able to go at any time in the day frees up our schedule. We like to walk the Ocean Springs Bridge, East Beach, or other trails on the coast. It is also the added benefit of beginning those New Year’s Resolutions early!
Late night Bond fire:
For friends that are night owls, a late night bond fire can also be a great activity to catch up with friends. The cooler weather is a fantastic excuse to put on warm boots, roast marshmallows, and enjoy the company of friends. Everyone can bring a beverage or snack to roast over the fire. Fire wood can be found on the cheap or for free around the south. (Someone has always just cut down a tree in my family!) With going out later, most families have finished their festivities.
What are your traditions and ideas with your friends during the holiday?