1. Name Night
Having a family get-together? Ditch game night for name night and explore your family name. Who are we? What does it mean to be us? George Dawes Greene, the founder of the Moth, the organization that sponsors public storytelling nights, did this at his own family reunion of 60 people. Each family member—from the youngest cousin to the oldest great-aunt—got five minutes to share a story. They gave the evening a playful name: It's Not Easy Being Greene. "It was just amazing," George says. "Most of us did not know each other, and we certainly didn't know the cousins' children, and so you had four generations telling stories about what it was to be a Greene. Almost every story was incredibly moving and hilarious, and we heard all different takes on what it was to come from our family."

2. The Housewishing Party
When I lived in India, I was invited to a havan, in which homeowners invite friends and family to gather in an empty new house, light a small fire and do a puja to bless it. When my husband and I moved to a new apartment in New York, we invited a few close friends over for our own reinterpretation of this tradition. We asked each guest to light a candle and share a wish for what they hoped this home would bring us, and what we might create in it. We felt witnessed and supported in transitioning to a new phase of our life together.

3. The "I Am Here" Day
When is the last time you spent a full day with people you care about, just walking and talking, without phones or an agenda? This ritual will put you "thickly in one place, rather than thinly everywhere," as my husband, Anand Giridharadas, has written. Twelve hours in a row with a group of friends is fundamentally different from four hours spent together on three different occasions. People get tired as the hours pass, and that's a good thing. Their guards start to come down, and the nature of the conversation begins to change. When people run out of the everyday chitchat, that's when talk gets deep and real.

4. The Last-One-Sings Dinner
So many group dinners, whether with friends or colleagues, end up breaking into a number of side conversations. Try asking every guest to give a toast to a theme of your choosing at some point during the evening. The toasts should be personal stories that relate to the theme. The last person to go has to sing their toast. This fun ritual—called 15 Toasts—brings a larger group together through a single conversation.

5. The "Becoming Parents" Blessing
The birth of a child marks a transition for both parents, not just the mother. At this ritual, guests share stories and wisdom about what it means to parent equally and what it means to be a family instead of a couple. Try this instead of a traditional shower for a richer experience.

The Art of Gathering Priya Parker is the author of the new book The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters, published by Riverhead.


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