Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Day After

It’s still mind-boggling to me that in one day, the hustle and bustle, build up and anticipation can be over. It’s the day after Christmas. All the presents are unwrapped, the food is sealed up tight in the refrigerator, the Christmas linens were lovingly used and now require a bath before they’re stored for next year. My kids have been entertained without my help all morning thanks to new toys and books. I’ve washed the china and the crystal goblets. The roasting pan and stove still cry out for my attention. It’s a beautiful clear day following the day long rain we watched yesterday. What a magical time December is.

We usually follow a tradition that’s been going on since the mid-80s in my family. Due to someone not wanting to participate at our normally scheduled time (psh) we changed things up a bit. We had Christmas Eve at my mom’s house with a few orphans. Not real orphans, but orphans in the sense that they really had no where to go and nothing fancy to eat so they were brought in to have dinner with us. We ate and played games and drank wine and ate some more. It was probably better than our tradition would have been had we stayed on track. I’m not one to invite people over at the spur of the moment. It’s just not my thing, although I wish it was, but my mouth moved quicker than my brain could stop it. It was the right thing to do, especially during the season.

The day before Christmas Eve, we bundled the kids up and everyone hopped in the car for a quick drive through Starbucks. Peppermint mochas for Bill and I and ‘kid coffee’ (hot chocolate) for Trey and Leah. While we sipped, we toured the neighborhoods looking at Christmas light and decorations. We spent an hour oohing and ahhing (and sometimes harshly judging) others’ ideas of decorating. I wish more people had their blinds open so I could see how they decorated the inside! Yes, I’m a home voyeur and I freely admit it.

I’m so happy to have my little family of four here at Christmas. Fortunately, I’ve only had to spend Christmas without my husband once while he was deployed to Japan. My cousin took him in while we celebrated up north with other family. I’m looking forward to next Christmas already. We’ll most likely have a white Christmas, we’ll definitely be in a different home, and we’ll have lots of overnight guests to keep us company. I love tradition paired with a little something new now and then.

Monday, December 15, 2008

In the midst of Christmas parties, performances and celebrations, my office has a yearly tradition: the White Elephant. Don’t know what the White Elephant game is?? Look here. Some people are nice and bring useful things, gift cards or something that maybe they don’t like but someone else most certainly would. Not us. Working for a youth pastor and the rest of the youth staff includes much sarcasm and prank pulling.

One year, the prized possession most fought for was a Snickers bar. The next year it was a giant stuffed Cookie Monster. This year, the most memorable gift was not the most sought after. One of the guys at the party was second in line to pick a gift from under the tree. He asks his buddy if the blue package he’d picked out was the right one. What? You can’t do that. No baiting the choice of the gift opener! After he’d opened his prize, it was completely obvious why he was led to open his gift.

The paper comes off and inside is a package with one pair of tightie whities. As if that weren’t funny enough, “Balls of Fury” was printed on the crotch in bright red. Mark* opened the package, held them up and revealed the size 42s and loudly read the undies, “Balls of Fury!” That sent everyone over the edge. It’s funny on its own, but we’re at a work party. Not just a regular work party, but we all work at a church. He can’t stop there and proceeds to put them on over his jeans.

As we’re sitting on couches and chairs, it’s so very obvious that Mark is sitting at a higher elevation than the rest as he’s on a bar chair and any time anyone looks in his general direction, “Balls of Fury” is yelling at you and you can’t help but stare at his crotch.

Somehow in the game, my boss is next in line to receive these opened goodies and Mark peels them off. It’s hard to not imagine him doing this as part of his normal routine. My boss hesitantly receives them and then places them on his head.

The one who brought the offending gift ended up opening an old flight suit and proclaimed that he’d received a onesie. That was quickly stolen by one of the other guys in the group. The thief of the ‘onesie’ happened to have his wife at the party as well. Guess what she wanted to steal? The balls of fury underwear. She proceeds to put them on over her jeans and parade around for all to see.

Then the inappropriateness started. Kim’s* husband, the one with the flight suit started with the comments about what they would be doing later than night…

He said he’d play Top Gun and she could be Captain Underpants. Wow. I never really wanted to know that. Now you’re in the know as well!

This was definitely one of the more memorable White Elephant exchanges I’d been to. Being married to a Marine, I’ve seen way more inappropriate gifts given and stolen, but it made my day!

Here's the actual crew I work with every day!

The Rubix Cube? Oh, I have no idea. I mean, look at his hair. It explains so much!

*Names have been changed to protect ME from random google searches by these people.