Last year in January, we challenged ourselves to a year of feasting. It really came about as part of our desire to reconnect with some old friends and have a little more fun. It all started out with these questions in mind:
What if parties were more than just a stressful event that left you worrying about the menu, and the decor, and the expense? What if parties were more like get-togethers where you actually had a chance to re-connect and connect with old and new favourite people? What if they were the occasion where real community was created in your life? What if feasts became the place of joy, and laughter, and even tears sometimes because they were all about creating a space to really do life together? What if they weren’t all about colour schemes and the perfect menu, although there might be a little of that on occasion too? What if our hospitality really was us making room in our lives for our people, our tribes, our family, our friends, our peeps? What if we created the time and space to really be with people, and we did it all over delicious food?
So how did we do?
I have to say it was a great success! Here’s a little recap of all our feasts for the year.
We kicked things off with The Toast Party. This party just might have been the best of the whole year. It was a whole lot of fun, and deliciousness. It was a bit on the quirky side, since the entire menu for the night was toast, but that was for sure part of the fun. My guests were invited to bring their toasters, and their favourite bread. We sat down together and ate toast, toast, and more toast with every kind of topping we could think of. I highly, highly recommend this one. Toast parties should be the new fondue party.
For February we had a little party for two, A Romantic Night In. The menu was amazing, the decor so pretty, and the company, well my favourite. 😉
In March, we had the most beautiful Spring Brunch for Easter. We invited some really old and dear friends and had such a lovely time. I loved all the details in our spring table. We used some real tried and true recipes, and had time to really enjoy our guests.
In April, we celebrated my youngest daughters birthday. We had the great joy of going on a cruise with our friends for spring break in March, and we had so much fun that Maddie wanted to re-create the experience for her birthday party. We had a fun Cruise Themed Birthday Party, and invited her friends. The invites were cruise tickets, we had an elegant three-course lunch in the formal dining room, and finished it all with karaoke. It was so much fun, and Maddie loved it.
May looked a little bit different. I was reflecting on Hospitality and the art of making people feel welcome and special. I shared how I was a part of a team that hosted a women’s getaway with my church, and some of the details of how we worked together to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
In June we connected with some old friends again with a dinner party. The menu was pretty simple -charcuterie board in the kitchen to start, flank steak salad, and the guests brought dessert, so I spent a little extra time on the table. I love how turned out, and we had a great evening catching up with some old friends.
In July, school was out, and we met some friends at the beach for a Summer Beach Campfire Picnic. I know I keep saying how great each party was, but this one was a real favourite of mine too. The decor was so simple and pretty, it was so fun to roast hotdogs on the beach, and we had a great time with the kids in water. It was so much fun we vowed to do it again before the summer ended. We didn’t make it back to that beach, but we will for sure do it again next summer. Perhaps it will be an annual event.
In August, we had another beautiful dinner party. My husband cooked -ribs, cornbread, corn on the cob; a classic end-of-summer bbq. With him cooking, I had time to set another really pretty table, and shared a few tips on how I do it on a budget.
In September my oldest daughter Paige turned 12. We had a special rock climbing party planned for her school friends a little later in the month, but couldn’t let the special day go by without a celebration. We invited our family and closest friends for a Pasta Bar. This was such a great party. Our guests loved the menu and getting to build their own pasta. We had three sauces, three kinds of pasta, and all kinds of toppings. It was a wonderful day of celebrating, followed by a great time walking in the forest, playing in the river there, and enjoying the last long warm days of summer.
By October, it felt like we’d done a lot of entertaining -because we had! We made October a little easier by ordering pizza, and picking up some donuts, and eating in the kitchen -for an Easy Fall Party. It was an easy menu, and gave us time for some fun with pumpkin painting and games. It was a lot of fun, and good to remember that we can still entertain, even with take-out.
In November we had some friends over for a Christmas Dessert Party. The baking was easy, we were excited to be in our newly decorated dinning room, and it was fun to do some holiday entertaining.
In December I hosted a Christmas Fondue Party. The food was so good, and I love a party where you can be a guest too, since everyone is cooking for themselves.
What did we learn from our year of feasts? What we already knew really -that there’s nothing better in this life than building loving, caring community. We loved connecting and reconnecting with our people. We enjoyed preparing something special for them, enjoying a meal together, and the rich, rich conversation that happens around a dinner table. We were reminded by them who we were, and what we love, and what we’re about. Was it a challenge each month to throw yet another feast? At times yes, but it was also often the highlight of the month. Like most good things, it was a lot of work, but it was certainly worth the effort. And, without reservation, I highly recommend the challenge.
We had so much fun feasting this past year, that we wanted to do it again, and invite some more friends to join in. This year the year of feasting will focus on the seasons, with four feasts -one for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Some of my blogging friends will be joining too, and I hope you will choose to play along. Could you host four great feasts this year to reconnect with family and friends? Our first feast will be for Spring this March. We’ll keep you posted on the details.
With a year of feasting, life really is a party!