I have such a great group of friends. I am so blessed to have them in my life I just have to tell you.
So every Christmas I have an ornament exchange for a bunch of my friends. It is such a blast! They all come over on the appointed evening with wrapped ornament in hand and the fun begins. When the day arrived this year my youngest progeny said, "A family room full of women laughing hysterically. How lovely." I thought I detected some sarcasm in her remark, or perhaps just jealousy.
We eat first and we eat a fair amount. I don't want to make it sound like we are gorging ourselves at a bacchanalian feast but there is plenty to eat. I always make too much on the fear that we will actually run out of food (hasn't happened yet) and people also bring stuff. Mary always brings her to die for Gorgonzola cheese ball, the mouth waters just thinking about it.
So, we spend some time eating and drinking, non-alcoholic "Slush punch" and hot apple cider, chatting and laughing. Trust me we DO NOT need to add alcohol to the mix to get us laughing.
And then the real fun begins. Have you ever been to an ornament exchange? They are fairly popular in my neck of the woods but I don't know about elsewhere so I will explain. Skip this part if you already know. In an ornament exchange you bring a wrapped ornament that does not have your name anywhere on the package. Then every one picks a number from the basket. Number 1 picks a package, unwraps the ornament, everyone oooooh and ahhhhhhs about it and we find out who brought it. The person with the number 2 then has a choice. They can pick a wrapped gift and go through the same process, or.........they can steal number 1's ornament and then number 1 has to pick another ornamnet to unwrap. This is the process through all the numbers. There are some rules that go with the stealing, what you didn't know that there is honor among theives? You cannot steal back an ornament that has been stolen from you. You cannot pick or steal the ornament that you brought (if you liked it that much you should have just bought one for yourself). And if an ornament has been stolen twice then it is unavailable for any more stealing. These rules engender a certain amount of strategy and planning on some peoples parts which is probably where most of the hilarity comes in. We always say that you shouldn't get attached to your ornment until the last person has unwrapped or stolen that last package. You never know what will happen. We are all god fearin' women at this event so this is the only time when we feel that we can legitimately steal and we do, oh we do.
There is always someone who is stolen from repeatedly, sort of like the corner deli owner in a bad neighborhood only without the guns. The first year that Heather attended I think she had 4 ornaments stolen from her. I was afraid that she would never come back but she has returned so I guess it was OK. Several years ago I was the repeat "stealee" and I have to say that it was hilarious fun. I am a glutton for punishment.
This year's party was this past Monday and we had a blast. The weather cooperated for the most part which is good. The year that we had a BIG storm on that night was interesting. The snow plow guy ripped me a new one for having people parking on the street. SORRY but it wasn't snowing that hard when they arrived. Sheesh. We had a ton of fun on Monday and I have gotten the house and kitchen put back to rights. Now I have to keep an eye out for the perfect ornament for next year. It is never too early to shop you know. The only pitfall with that is that sometimes I can't remember where I stashed the ornament when the time comes to wrap it. The mind goes first.