This week, I attended a Christmas party planning meeting. This party has been held every year for the last 13 years, and we take pride in its history. As tradition dictates, the planning meeting is held over dinner at Red Robin. We’re just classy like that. The agenda includes choosing secret santas, assigning food and beverages to bring, and discussion of activities and movies to watch.
The party planner sets a heavy binder on the dinner table after dinner has been ordered, and turns to a blank page. It’s time to choose the food. We begin throwing out ideas. Do we stick with the traditional food and beverage choices from years past? Do we try something new? The planner consults the binder, which contains a record of every item of food from each year’s party, as well as a list of games and their winners…but back to the food.
The thing I am most excited for is bean dip. It’s not really a traditional Christmas food, I’ll grant you that, but it’s OUR Christmas food. A party-goer made this bean dip for 7 years, and then one year announced that she’d like to make something new. The collective gasp was the manifestation of our shock and pain at the thought of not having THE bean dip. We then immediately offered to trade-off making said bean dip if she would provide the recipe. It just isn’t Christmas without it.
After some light debate, here is this year’s menu:
- 7-layer bean dip
- Butternut squash soup
- Grilled cheese sandwiches
- Pumpkin cream cheese muffins
- Fruit punch + sprite (no idea what the official name is)
- Peppermint patties
- Hershey’s kisses, various flavors
- Fruit, various kinds
Generally there is no alcohol at the party. Why? I couldn’t say. Only that it’s never really been the point of this particular gathering.
There are several games throughout the day. The one that never changes is putting the name of a Christmas character on our backs and asking yes or no questions to guess which one we’ve been assigned. Each year the planner chooses everyone’s name except her own, and two of us must come up with one we think will stump her. It’s not easy, she has seen just about every Christmas movie ever made. So we have to get creative. For example, one year we gave her Clarice, Rudolph’s love interest in the 1964 movie Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Yeah, it gets intense.
There is usually some kind of word game: crossword, word scramble, etc. Sometimes there’s a trivia game. Each game winner gets a small prize, with the exception of the name tag game. That’s just for fun.
From there, we exchange gifts, and choose a movie from the selection of holiday-themed movies available. The Santa Clause is always a favorite.
Oh, did I forget to mention there are exactly 4 people at the party? Ok, some years we’ve had 5, but mostly it’s just the 4 of us.
So, why do we go through all this for 4 people? These days, life has made it harder for us to get together. So this is the perfect excuse to spend a whole day talking, eating, laughing, and having a great time with childhood girlfriends. I also especially enjoy it since I don’t have a large family. Having traditions like these to look forward to makes it all worthwhile.
Hopefully we’ll continue our silly tradition of meeting at Red Robin with The Binder and our party of 4. It’ll make a great story to tell our kids when we’re spunky old ladies a la Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.
Superfluous (adj.): exceeding what is sufficient or necessary
Some people might think having a planning meeting, games, movies, and feast is superfluous for only four people.