As Mindy Kaling says, best friend isn’t a person; it’s a tier. Everyone has lots of best friends in their life and those best friends can vary wildly. Your work best friend, your college best friend, your pilates class best friend — the list goes on. But one best friend that most of us have is a hometown best friend. This is the person who has known you all (or at least most) of your life, and he or she is still there for you, years later. Time and distance might have come between you, but there’s one glorious time of year when you can count on reuniting: When you both return home for the holidays to visit your families.

Reuniting with your hometown best friend is a special experience, and one that begins months before it even happens. It’s a whole process (at least for me and my best friend).

By the time Halloween rolls around, you realize that it’s holiday season and you’re *thisclose* to seeing each other in person again.

You immediately text to begin a proper countdown.

You plan your trips, coordinating travel to make sure you’re in town on as many of the same days as possible.

You plan a best friends day to catch up, because it’s a NECESSITY.

You have the whole day planned out, but the first hour that you’re together is mostly this:

When you finally calm down, it’s like no time has passed and you’ve literally never spent a moment apart. It feels that. Natural. You can be 100% yourselves around each other.

Old inside jokes are resurrected.

Old memories are discussed.

New memories are made.

You might act like total weirdos.

You might spend all day doing “nothing,” but it’s the best day ever.

And before you know it, way more time has gone by than you thought.

You renew your friendship vows.

And promise to keep in touch a reasonable amount.

And then just profess your undying love for each other until one of you literally has to leave the state.

And it’s sad for a little bit, until you remember that your friendship survived the last 11 months and it will survive the next 11, too. Time to return to your usual routine of texting/FaceTiming/Snapchatting all day, every day.

(Images via New Line Cinema, Riffsy, TheOdysseyOnline, imgfave, Tumblr, giphy.)