Ladies night. The venerable institution of wine, chit chat, and occasional dancing. Ladies night is more than just a social custom, it’s the chance to come together with the women who keep us sane-to share our stories and lean on each other. Ladies night is the modern day answer to extended family. It seems like lately, at so many ladies nights I’ve attended, conversation quickly turns to our increasingly troubled world. Everywhere we turn there are neighbors in need whether they’re next door or across the globe. Maybe it’s time to give Ladies Night a much needed makeover, update the policies and practices to suit a world in need. Here are some ideas for a 21st century ladies night. Don’t worry, you can keep the wine and chit chat.
Host a documentary viewing and discussion party. Whether you go through a political action group like MoveOn, which frequently asks members to gather friends and neighbors to screen political documentaries, or simply find one yourself and organize, this can be a great way to start a conversation about an endless range of topics. Gather friends to watch and discuss and, if you’re the sort who likes to keep to a theme, structure your party accordingly. Watching a doc about fair trade goods? Feature them on the menu for the evening. If you’re viewing a film related to a particular cause in need, ask each friend to chip in $5 and make a donation to a supporting charity.
Throw a blanket making party. Project Linus is an organization that provides warm blankets to children who have experienced illness, trauma, or other need. Their website provides links to dozens of blanket patterns for every skill level imaginable. Find a group of friends who aren’t afraid of a little arts and crafts and spend an evening creating comfort for kids in need.
Listen up. If you would rather have a girls’ night out, why not make it more than just dinner and drinks. Find an interesting talk being given in your area and plan around it. Check local bookstores, non-profit organizations, and events listings in the local paper for something that sounds good to your group. Plan to have dinner and drinks after the talk.
Pack a bag. Gather your gals and stay in for a night packing Blessings Bags, as they’re known. Typically, Blessings Bags are large Ziploc bags packed with travel size toiletry items. Contact area homeless shelters or domestic violence shelters to find out what items are typically needed. Have each guest choose an item to purchase in reasonable bulk and get to work.
Set a cost for admission of sorts. Contact area food pantries to find out what is on their list of most needed items. Relay the info to your ladies and ask each of them to bring a bag of non-perishable items. Rather than leave it to chance what each guest brings, consider assigning an item or two to each. If you go this route, agree on a number of items for each person to purchase. This way you can assure an even distribution rather than finding yourself with 15 cans of corn.
Here’s to the modern day ladies night, a chance to connect with friends and do a little good while you’re at it.