When most people think of Christmas traditions they think of family.  Friends are family too and creating lasting traditions with them is super important.

MY FIRST REAL FRIENDS ARE FAMILY

Angel here and I've told you all before I moved around a lot growing up.  My first true set of friends didn't come along until the end of middle school beginning of high school when I started playing soccer.  These ladies have remained my closest friends for 30 plus years.  These women have held my hand through loss, divorce, love, laughter, and so much more.  They have truly become my family through the years.

A LONG RUNNING TRADITION

As life would have it many of us girls stayed in town to attend college and a few of us even continued playing soccer together.  Katy Evans Harrison started the Christmas tradition that would last for years to come.  For as long as I can remember Katy has been hosting all the girls at her house for tasty goodies and a mean game of Dirty Santa (Ornament Style).  At first, I would come for the food, and eventually, I showed up because I loved seeing everyone. I learned very fast once you're invited you better show up because if you consecutively miss two times in a row you're off the invite and this is a very exclusive holiday scene. Dirty Santa can often get crazy and one year (it was a bad year) I was going through a divorce and my mom had passed just months before and I didn't have time to go buy an ornament for the game.  I found something in the bottom of my Christmas closet that looked like a wreath threw it in a bag and off I went.  How was I to know that almost 20 years later that ornament would be the focus of conversation at least once every year during Katy's party?

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WHY WE'RE STILL DOING IT YEARS LATER

There are lots of reasons we show up to Katy's house each year but only a few that truly stick out in my mind:

  1. Conversations over cheese bread. If I polled the ladies I know the #1 reason would be the cheese bread LOL.  If you know you know.  However, I don't think it's necessarily about the cheese bread at all (even if it is a little square of carbs and cheese that I'm sure was sent from heaven) it is more about the conversations that we have while eating the cheese bread.  That cheese bread brings us all together and starts a dialog between us that should be streamed on a network somewhere.
  2. Laughing at our chaos.  We come together and basically spew all the things that have gone on in our lives over the past months in just a few hours. Sometimes I love to just sit and listen to all the different conversations going on.  From how old the kids are to what sport their playing to who got divorced and remarried and other things that I can't mention LOL (but really).  It makes us feel sane if just for a moment.  We are able to laugh at he crazy we all bring and take a little of each others when we leave.  It helps us to take a breather from everything else.
  3. A sense of belonging.  I'm not a girl's girl but when I'm at Katy's I love the time there.  I get to see people that mean the world to me and have walked my journey for different amounts of time.  There were years I had no one to spend the holidays with but I always knew I had Katy's house.  From Katy and Kelli who have been my dearest friends (I practically lived at their houses growing up), to Mandy who mothered me in college when I cheered who still does the very same years later, to Ashley who has been at nearly every single one of the births of my children (she's a nurse), and all the other ladies who bring something so special to the party.  We're all different and yet when we come together it all makes the most perfect sense.

If you don't have a tradition with your friends be the one to start it.  It doesn't have to be a party maybe it's meeting for mexican before Christmas, Secret Santa, Going To Look At Lights, Cookie Exchange, whatever you do make it yours.

I'm already looking forward to next year.  Merry Christmas Y'ALL!

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