After being with my family and friends a lot during the holidays, I’ve been reflecting on how we spend our time together when we gather.
A few years ago I got tired of hosting parties where I spent most of the time having small talk and not actually feeling connected.
I think for many of us there can be a routine around what we do when we gather: talking, having dinner, telling stories, maybe playing a game or watching a movie. And while all of the pieces might be fun, we sometimes leave these gatherings feeling like we wanted more connection than we found there. Even if we were spending time with people we really love. Can you relate?
So I decided to make things more intentional by hosting a potluck with a twist-- the first hour we’d do some creative writing, and then let the party unfold from there. I gave everyone a writing prompt, we free-wrote for 10 minutes, and then shared our writing in small groups. We did this three times. That was all I had planned.
But people loved it so much they wanted to share what they wrote with the whole party. It became an impromptu open mic! Every single person shared. One of my shyest friends shared all three of his pieces, including one I’ll never forget about “pregret” (regretting something in advance).
The whole rest of the evening was so alive and connected because people had the experience of being vulnerable and showing themselves, and they all had something to talk about later.
There are so many simple ways to bring more life and connection into your gatherings through creativity. My friend Adam Rosendahl, who created Late Nite Art, has an awesome instagram post about all of the creative antics he got up to with his family on Thanksgiving this year, including a collaborative drawing of their meal, freestyle rapping, and story games.
I also HIGHLY recommend the book The Art of Gathering by Pryia Parker. It’s given me so much inspiration for deepening connection at all types of gatherings, from parties to business meetings.
Finger painting, singing circles, improv games, collage, pie-making, dance contests, poetry readings--the possibilities are endless.
Got any stories of creative gatherings you’ve loved? Drop me a line and let me know, I’m always looking for new ideas!