Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Party Time!

The gang's all here, arriving with presents

My friends and I hold a big all-day Christmas bash every year... in January.  That's right, in JANUARY. Let's face it, December is rather hectic in many ways, and its Saturdays are tied up with shopping as well as work, church and family functions.  We also have several members of our circle of friends who travel "home" for the holidays to visit relatives in other states.

So, we pick a Saturday in January where we can meet, eat, exchange gifts, and generally enjoy each other's company.  This year it just happened a little later in January than usual.  One more Saturday and it would have been in February... However, that fact didn't seem to stop the Christmas cheer!

First we spent some time bringing in gifts, saying HI and getting settled.  Then, dinner was served!  This year it was brought in from Boston Market.  We had turkey and all the fixings!
Our host Mark enjoying his turkey dinner
There were also more treats than you could possibly imagine for snacking and dessert.  Here we see Elaine and Robin enjoying their dinner.  They had to move aside the mountain of cookies, brownies and fudge to accomplish this.

Elaine and Robin and the mountain o' cookies and other goodies
Okay, there was also a veggie tray and, of course, there were Jackie's famous deviled eggs.  Yum!

See?  We can be healthy, too!

Then, once everyone was fed, the partying began.  

We always open with a game of silly presents called the "Pic N Save" gifts.  Pic N Save was actually the name of a discount store many years ago which is now called Big Lots.  The idea is to purchase something for $5 or less.  It helps if it makes folks laugh.

Julie opens a gag gift as Laura and Maura look on
Then, we move on to the serious gift exchange.  There are so many of us, that years ago we began drawing names for gift giving.  This doesn't stop some people from being generous and giving gifts to everyone!

It is gift giving mayhem, I tell you.

Abbie opening her gifts
We take turns opening our gifts and sharing our exclamations of joy with everyone.  This is a lively bunch and we are very loud (there are usually 10 different conversations going on at any one time) and opinionated... and very generous.

Our friend Barbara moved to Virginia, so she participated via Skype.

Barbara participating
Although she looked great, it turns out Barbara had the flu and wasn't feeling well, so we're glad she stayed home in Virginia.  (No offense, Barb!)  Hope the computer doesn't catch the virus.  (Just kidding!)

There were more presents than you could possibly imagine.
Handing out the gifts
My friends know how to give great gifts.
What on earth is this?
Maura looks on while Jackie takes her turn opening presents

Hey, look!  It's a  Cute Thing!
Maura contemplates the strange bag with a ribbon (below).  When we play the goofy Pic N Save gift game, you can steal from someone else.

So, do I keep this?  Hmmmm....
There would be wrapping paper and ribbons everywhere, but we've long ago learned to keep a trash bag handy.  If we don't, the ferocious kitties would eat the ribbons, and possibly the wrapping paper.

You know how they are!

Mark with one of his ferocious kitties
But I digress.

We're still having a good time and opening presents...
Julie and Laura with their "haul"
Lots and Lots of presents.
Laura going through the gift pile
This goes on for HOURS.

Lisa was buried under a pile of her gifts
It's a lot of fun.

Look, I got a cross-stitched sheep!
Our Host, Mark, had a fairly simple list this year.  He got a TARDIS shower curtain, which he promptly (and with great excitement) hung up in the bathroom.  He also got some other interesting things.

Mark opening his gifts while Peggy and others look on

Thumb light saber wars...
Okay,  you had to be there.
Along with giving and receiving funny and interesting gifts, we always seem to end up wearing the ribbons.

It's a thing.

Peace love dove, everyone.
Maura hams it up for the camera
We can be pretty silly.

Have I mentioned that already?

A serious moment?
Naw, there weren't any of those!  We laughed a lot!

I came home just dripping with glitter from this bow!
It's wonderful to have good friends that you feel totally at home with.  These people are like family. There's always a moment at these gatherings when I look around and note with satisfaction how much I love these people.  They are all interesting, intelligent, kind and very funny.

Watching the unwrapping
Have I mentioned we laugh a lot?

Our host
Poor Mark.  He keeps his Christmas decorations up every year until after the big holiday party.  Actually, he said he put the tree up AFTER Christmas this year just for the party!  (You can just glimpse it behind him, and at the bottom of this post!)

Paula opening her stash
See?  Maura and I are not the only goofy people in the group!   Paula actually looked pretty good with her ribbon on.  It matched her shirt.

Peggy and Paula
Robin, did it too.
Robin and Elaine
We're all so fashion forward.

Robin finally has her own Minion!
Elaine creates counted cross-stitch Christmas tree decorations and bookmarks for us each year.  She does beautiful work.  I really liked the minion she created for Robin.

Each one of us got a little Disney ornament from Cathy this year.  This is Robin showing hers off.

I showed off mine, too, when it was my turn.

We're like that.

I love my friends.  Okay, I've already mentioned that.  This is the best party of the year, even though our other ones are pretty good, too.

Thanks for the good food, laughter and gifts and especially for your friendship.  It was worth waiting an extra month past Christmas for!

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