Oh, I do love to shop — really, truly I do. So when it comes to buying Christmas gifts I’m all over it: scouting out deals, comparing flyers, unearthing great online shopping sites, and more.
That’s why when my best friend suggested that as a group of girls we enjoy a dinner together and a night out afterward instead of exchanging, say, another sparkly condo accessory or make-up palette, at first I paused. Then I realized that as much as I’m disappointed to not shop for gifts for the girls, the idea of a night out together is perfect. After all, it’s something we write about often here in the blog — choosing experiences and time together over gifts and material items.
And so that’s exactly what we did this past weekend in lieu of handing gifts to each other for Christmas. The day began with a Thai cooking class at the Maplehern Cooking School, which actually takes place in the owner’s home — an intimate setting for an intimate group of friends. We weren’t the only trio of friends there — other women had come in twos and threes, and together the 10 of us crowded around the owner’s island and sniffed Kaffir lime leaves, sampled spicy peanut sauce, and rolled salad rolls. After that, we dug into the lunch we’d helped make with a glass of wine, all the while giggling over the kinds of things that old friends giggle about.
After that we were Barrie, Ontario-bound to enjoy a dinner out there and an evening out at a bar — but not before my younger sister joined us and (full disclosure) we stopped at an outlet mall to shop for boots and purses. Okay, so maybe the shopping acted as a social lubricant for the experience we were having.
At the end of the day, we came away souls refreshed at the time spent together. We caught up on some long-overdue gossip, which can often be a comfortable currency amongst long-time friends. We created a new round of inside jokes. We were just about hysterical with laughter in trying to take decent pictures of ourselves in front of a Christmas display in downtown Barrie. And we discussed new milestones in our lives — a new job, a new baby, and a recent trip.
And all of that is what helps keep our friendships fresh and connected. Sure, we would have enjoyed giving a new make-up set or breaking in a sparkly set of wine glasses. But those are items that get tucked into our shelves or cupboards, waiting to be used and probably not evoking memories of our weekend together. No, instead, we all share a new set of “Remember when…” stories and came away from the weekend with a connected experience.
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