This is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. I love any and all events that bring friends together – for cookie exchanges, dinner parties, brunches, holiday meals, ornament exchanges, white elephant exchanges, gift exchanges, you name it. I love the whole spirit of it all – even though we’re all busy and tired and have a ton to do! For some crazy reason, I find this fantastic.
I love bringing people together and celebrating our community, whether I’m hosting or attending, I’m always thankful and find the gathering of friends a true gift.
Last week I received an email reminder that one group of friends from back home were gathering for our annual gift exchange soon. I felt bummed that I was going to miss this fun gathering that I absolutely love. So I decided that I would host a gathering for some of my new Holland sisters, and hopefully bring the Christmas spirit here.
This morning about 30 of us gathered for some holiday cheer. We all brought a wrapped gift that cost under 10 Euros to exchange and several friends brought delicious sweet treats and drinks to share. Mom and I cleaned the house and rearranged the furniture for all of us to fit. We baked chocolate chip banana bread and served cookies, coffee, teas, and juices. Jeff took care of the kids in the morning and got them off to school for me. The house was decorated with flowers and plants that they brought as gifts and candles were lit everywhere.
The Christmas tree lights were twinkling and the buzz of our chatter filled the room (and even out onto the street, so they say!).
Each guest picked a numbered star ornament from a basket and then the gift exchange began. Several friends had never participated in something like this before. The way it worked is that the first person picked a wrapped gift and opened it in front of everyone. The person with the number 2 star could steal the gift from the first person, or pick a new gift from under the tree. If the first gift was stolen, then the first person would pick a new unwrapped gift from under the tree. A gift could be stolen a maximum of three times and then it was owned for good. If later in the game your gift was stolen, you could then steal from someone else, or a new gift until all the gifts were claimed. And the twist at the end was that the first person got a final chance to steal since they didn’t get a choice at the beginning.
The more a gift was stolen, the more laughter erupted. It was so much fun and everyone got a kick out of seeing all the presents and stealing from each other in a fun way.
I loved the party and that so many people came. I loved all the noise and that everyone was happy just being together.
Happy Sint! Merry Christmas!!