Saturday, December 8, 2007

Day 16 - Christmas Parties

On the 16th day of Christmas,
my relatives acted hearty
at a family Christmas party.

1) Did your family throw a holiday party each year?

When I was a kid, we didn't have a separate holiday party that I recall - just celebrations with my grandparents and my cousin Dorothy's family.

After we were married, my parents, my brothers and us would have a Christmas party either on the weekend before Christmas, on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day with the traditional dinner. As the children grew, these became great fun watching the little ones open gifts, show off for grandma and grandpa, and play out in the yard.

Our family would fly (on Christmas Day) or drive (several days before Christmas) to San Francisco to celebrate the holiday with Linda's parents and brother. They would invite their living aunts and uncles to dinner and Paul (Linda's brother) and I would often go pick them up and take them home. Sometimes, we would go down the peninsula to visit the aunts, uncles and cousins. There was always lots of laughs, sharing of memories, interesting gifts and lots of good food at these events.

2) Do you remember attending any holiday parties?

Besides the family parties, there were Christmas parties at church and with colleagues at work. The church couples group adopted a New Year's Eve "progressive dinner" party, with white elephant gift giving, rather than a pre-Christmas party. This was done because everybody had a busy schedule with their kids and family, needed a sober New Year's event to attend, and we could get rid of useless but valuable gifts at the New Year's party.

We also attended a pre-Christmas party with our Marriage Encounter board couples with a white elephant gift exchange. If we didn't like the gift we got here, we took it to the New Year's party. Fruitcake, especially!

For many years, my work group got together for an evening pot luck party with much drinking and telling stories about people who didn't attend. These were always at someone's house, and it was a good way to meet the spouses of your colleagues, stand under the mistletoe and be spurned, and to see how they lived. I don't have many specific memories of these, of course, except that Linda had to pour me into bed more than once.

Linda's teaching colleagues also had a pre-Christmas party at someone's house, which was similar to my work colleague party, except it was more interesting because the families were in different income brackets. The group was much more diverse and the people more interesting. There was a designated gift giving at these parties - each teacher drew a name at school to give a gift to.

This post will be part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" carnival - organized by Thomas MacEntee at the Destination: Austin Family blog. Please go to Thomas' blog and read the submissions for each day.

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