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Meet the merry, motley crew who make my Friendsmas special

Meet the merry, motley crew who make my Friendsmas special

Christmas lunch is for friends, and the more, the merrier.

Call it a celebration of the friendships that have sustained me. The gifts will be cheap and cheerful. The meal will be potluck.

Christmas lunch this year will be traditional. Roast meat, family, and 273 photos of my niece opening presents. I’m lucky to have a reasonably chilled-out family.

I’m probably the most dramatic of the lot and have calmed down in my 40s. Read that as “not stressed out and sneaking a cigarette on the stoep because my lofty expectations aren’t being met.”

I’m reinstating the “Friendsmas” gathering this year, to be held in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

The guestlist is a motley crew, a cross-section of all the aspects of my life. Call it a celebration of the friendships that have sustained me over the last year. The gifts will be cheap and cheerful. The meal will be potluck.

The friend from high school

We throw an arm around each other and tell everyone who will listen that we’ve been friends since we were 13. Even when circumstances set our paths away from each other, we were always just a phone call away.

In our mid-20s, something big happened in her life, I reached out, we had coffee and our Chapter 2 began. I’d like to say we’ve been joined at the hip ever since.

She will be bringing an elaborate salad. We work together, so I get treated to her creativity a few times a week.

The friend of a friend

This is the friendship where we roll our eyes when people ask how we know each other. We pull out the metaphorical organogram and try to recount the origins of our friendship.

Basically, one of my good school friends did a university project with her, then we met. The rest is history.

This is a friendship forged in our 20s that has stood the test of time, for better, for worse. She’s bringing a soup starter. Based on what she served up at our last girls’ dinner, we’re in for a treat.

The friend from church

We met while I was facilitating a course at church. I think I learnt way more from her than she learnt from me, and a friendship sprung up.

We’ve had our stages. Our monthly ice-cream dates, our weekly walking dates, then dance classes and almost daily messages. This friendship has never been based on just one mutual interest.

She is an incredible baker who doesn’t shy away from making purple cupcakes with a gooey surprise centre.

The friend that almost got away

We’d been in each other’s orbit for many years. We have a lot of mutual friends. After hearing I’d broken off my engagement, she reached out.

We met for coffee and spoke for what felt like hours. We clicked instantly.

Our friendship is based on shared adventures, a lot of honesty and support. She will be in charge of drinks. She makes gorgeous non-alcoholic cocktails.

The friend who introduced me to a new hobby

This a fairly new friendship and she already means so much to me. The first time we met she invited me to go to a Ceilidh, a Scottish social event.

Truth be told, she was ill and didn’t even attend, but I was hooked on the dancing from that point on.

We recently had lunch together and she was excited for me to try oysters. Fortunately, she’s bringing a chicken pie.

The friend from the dance studio

I joined a dance studio a few years ago. Initially to do ballet, but the studio offers a variety of classes. I’m not sure when we first met but I know we had a very deep conversation very early on.

She is a working mom, but still finds time to grab a cheeky last-minute dinner or join me at the theatre when I have an extra ticket.

She is a self-proclaimed “pudding girl” and will be bringing something wicked, decadent and homemade. Two desserts, I hear you ask? Why not?

As for me, I’m going to roast a big tray of roast vegetables, peppered with fresh herbs and too much garlic. A good metaphor for the medley of women who help me navigate life.

Sharon Paine

Change expert, Sharon Paine, believes that the big change equals big opportunity.

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