In 2017, we’re committed to bringing back the Southern niceties that we’ve been missing. From having conversations with our neighbors to getting outside and soaking up the Southern sunshine, we are excited about reviving the traditions we love. The results will be closer relationships, more fun, and lots of good food. We’re looking forward to a beautiful New Year, a year filled with kindness and compassion, new friends and tasty casseroles (like this and this, which are already on our to-cook list). New Year’s resolutions come and go, but we think that these classic Southern niceties and acts of kindness deserve a permanent place on every year’s to-do list.
Write a Note…Just Because
One of the nicest niceties we can think of is a handwritten letter. The only thing better than writing one is receiving one, and there’s just something so touching about a letter sent out of the blue, just because someone was thinking about you. Send a letter to a friend far away or your next-door neighbor to put a smile on their face.
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Bake and Take
We’ll admit it: We don’t bake as many casseroles as we used to. That is going to change in 2017, because there are few things more comforting than a 9x13 baking dish filled with a favorite casserole recipe. We’re making a resolution to bring back the bake-and-take tradition. In fact, 2017 is going to be the year of both casseroles and kindness. When friends and family are sick or going through a hard time, we’ll be at their front door posthaste—with a steaming dish and a smile.
It’s the easiest way to brighten up a day. Just say “hi.” Say it in the grocery store, on the sidewalk, at a football game, or at work. It’s a great reminder that we’re all in this together. If the hello turns into a conversation, hurray! You never know what you’ll learn when you have an open mind and an eagerness to connect with someone else. This might be the most classic of Southern niceties—and we’re excited to keep it rolling into the New Year.
Spend Afternoons Outside
Before video games beckoned kids inside—and before we were all glued to our cell phones—Southerners spent time outdoors. Whether it is a leisurely hour spent sipping lemonade on the porch or an afternoon playing in the backyard, we’re going to get outside in 2017. We plan to slather on our SPF and soak up the sweet Southern days that we miss when we're absorbed in our gadgets.
Start a Book Club
We have shelves and shelves of unread books—and several friendships that we need to cultivate in the New Year—so we’re bringing back the Southern book club. There are more than a few Southern classics that we want to read this year (and everything’s more fun with friends), so once a month, we’re planning a brunch to talk about the month’s book. Twelve books! It’s easy as pie when you’re also looking forward to a mimosa brunch.
Say Please and Thank You
We were taught that these are requirements, not niceties, but we seem to hear “please” and “thank you” less and less these days. That’s why we’re going to be intentional about our interactions with other people in the New Year. Kindness and consideration are the name of the game. We’re going to prove that Southern Charm—that classic, signature quality—is still alive and well.
Plan a Tea Party
It can be daunting to plan a big party (“I’ll have to clean the whole house!” “I’ll be cooking all day!” “It’s expensive!”), but we still want to get together with friends in the New Year. Planning a tea party—a classic Southern tradition we inherited from our friends in the U.K.—is easy to plan and so much fun to host. Hot water, tea, and assorted cookies are all you need for a sweet get-together with friends.
Gather Fresh Flowers
Brighten up your space with fresh flowers once a week—or, if you’re busy, once a month. In spring and summer, clip a few pretty sprigs from the yard and keep them in a vase by the sink or on the dinner table. It’s also easy to grab an assortment of blossoms while shopping at the grocery store. Flowers are always in style, but this year, they’re going to remind us all to bloom.
Southerners share a strong cooking gene. We love whipping up classic Southern recipes, but in the New Year, we’re planning to cook together. A lot. We’re going to get everyone in the kitchen, from grandma to the kids, and share stories, traditions, and laughter with the Southern families we love so much.
Give Unexpected Gifts
We have resolved to keep our eyes out for gift-giving opportunities in 2017. It doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition; it could be a home-cooked meal, a tin of coffee, or an hour of your time. When you’re looking out for opportunities to make someone else’s day better, it makes yours better too.