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Who Else Wants Simplified Celebrations?

Do you feel the pressure to make every party perfect? To design and decorate and plan wonder for every gathering? Sometimes, what we and our children need most is simplicity. Do you need to lay down perfection? You can drop it right here.

On my calendar for last month were two college graduations, eight birthdays, one anniversary, and one adoption. Two of our long-time friends turned 50, and those were “biggies”.

Next month the calendar is even fuller.

I’ve noticed that the pressure to celebrate, in an impressive way, all of the people in our lives has grown over the years. The Pinterest world has added to the expectation that every person should have a party and every party should have a theme and every theme should have matching decorations and food and drink cups.

Is anyone else stressed out by this?

I love all these people who are in my life. With great joy I filled a bag with fun stuff (including a Nerf gun) and a card for my son-in-law who just graduated with his bachelors in business. I long for every person on my list to feel special.

But how much can a woman keep track of in one month? How much money and energy should we invest in celebrations?

When I was growing up, a birthday meant we went to grandma’s house for fried chicken and our favorite dessert. We opened a few presents, but really being with family was the gift. No evites went out to 20 of my favorite friends. No gift bags for guests. No theme.

Just fried chicken and a slice of French silk pie.

Lots of laughing.

I have to admit I have had some crazy big parties planned on my behalf in the past, and I have loved every second of them. But wow that was a lot of work and financial commitment by my friends. Should we do that kind of thing for every person in our lives every time a birthday or other accomplishment comes around?

And what expectations are we instilling in our kids?

A few weeks ago my family met up with my brother-in-law’s family and my mother-in-law and her sister at Applebee’s. We celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday with a meal and a few presents. It was so fun. We laughed around the table for an hour and told her we loved her.

Is that enough celebration?

Shauna Niequist, in Bread and Wine, says:

What people are craving isn't perfection. People aren't longing to be impressed; they're longing to feel like they're home.

Some of you are party planners extraordinaire, and if that’s you, I say enjoy that gift and use it to bless others. You know how to make people feel special, and you should keep doing it to your hearts content.

But for us regular folks who struggle to get a card in the mail on time?

I think we should bring back the small family celebration that is simply family love around a good meal. No decorations. No theme. No invitations sent out to friends. Just a family gathering around a yummy meal, to express love and appreciation of the person. A few simple gifts and candles to blow out. And the person being celebrated doesn’t have to help with the dishes.

Could we do that? Scale back celebrations?

To me it feels like stepping out of a cultural rip tide.

Maybe we could encourage each other in this –would you mind sharing a brief story of a memorable celebration you had that was family gathered around a table?



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