My husband turned to me the other day while we sitting by the fire after baby girl had gone to bed and said to me, “You seem really happy. And you weren’t that way for a long time.”
It’s true. Both parts.
Sure, we could have a bit more money. My house could be a bit cleaner. But when it comes to the big picture, I am remarkably content with my life. I can safely say that for the first time in my life, I feel full. And I’m not just talking about my tummy being full of good food. I’m full in the, I really can’t think of anything that is missing in my life, kinda way. Like if someone asked me what one thing I want more than anything right now, my answer would probably be something stupid like, “Um, a self-cleaning kitchen would be nice?”
Seriously, someone get on that.
One of the biggest reasons I feel so content right now is my friends. That might sound like an obvious statement—I mean, duh, friends make people happy—but I have to be honest, for the longest time after I graduated college, I really struggled to connect with people.
I think a lot of people struggle with making and keeping friends in their late twenties and early thirties. In college, it was easy, you bonded over some drinks, and you were thick as thieves. But college ends, and people take jobs across the country and get married to out-of-towners and go to grad school three states over, and suddenly your über close group of friends is scattered and, while you’ll always be in each other’s lives, it just isn’t the same as being in the same city.
So now, you have to start all over again to find friends nearby. Except, this time, it seems just so much harder to find people you want to spend time with. You’re older and perhaps a bit more cautious about whom you want to dedicate time to, and that caution makes it incredibly hard to open up to new people.
Or at least, it sure does for me.
But as long as it’s taken me to build up a good group of local friends, man, is it ever a good group. I am so thankful for the people who the universe has put in my life. I don’t have a ton of friends, but the ones I have are some of the sweetest, kindest and most generous people on the planet. They make me want to be a better person—and that’s exactly what I think a good friend should do.
My husband and I are one of those totally co-dependent couples, and I 100% consider him my best friend, and I thought that was enough to sustain me for the longest time, but it turns out, having meaningful adult friendships is something that is important for my soul too. I am so thankful for my friends.
With these people in my life that I love like family, it felt wrong not to see them during the holiday season, so last year, we opened our home up for the inaugural FRIENDMAS. We invited one of our closest couple friends out to the country for some old-fashioned Christmas fun. We ate lots of sugary Christmas cookies and listened to old Bing Crosby records by the fireplace. We decorated gingerbread houses while drinking wassail and bourbon eggnog.
We all had our families to go celebrate with a few days later, but this friends-only Christmas celebration was an absolutely spectacular way to let loose and have our own kind of fun. Pretty instantly, a tradition was born. And this year, we’re opening up our home to even more friends. Craig and I are both so excited to get to host our incredible friends at Christmas. It is quickly becoming the event I look forward to the most at the holidays. It’s our little way of showing how thankful we are for the good people in our life. I’m terrible at writing thank you notes. I hate the telephone. And I don’t do a lot of entertaining, but this is the least I can do to celebrate the good people I love.
So what’s all that have to do with boozy eggnog? The drink of choice during last year’s FRIENDMAS was this bourbon eggnog cocktail that Craig mixed up. Since I was pregnant during last year’s celebration, I never got to try it, but the raves were so loud, I knew it would have to come back in 2014. So as soon as the holiday season came around, I asked my mixmaster of a husband to whip me up one to try—and it was totally worth the wait. It’s sweet and so warm and oh, so comforting. Which is pretty much exactly the way I describe having my friends in my home at Christmas. This is the drink I choose to celebrate my chosen family.