One Xmas I proposed that instead of giving each other gifts, we should each just go out and buy ourselves something we wanted, then gather at someone’s house on Xmas Eve to show each other the presents we bought, and drink egg nog and sing our annual Xmas carol and play party games where we draw rude pictures of things and try not to laugh at the guesses.
This was very popular, and we all loved the presents we got ourselves. (I bought myself a video-game system and a large screen TV.) We met at Daniel’s house and I led everyone in a merry rendition of Deck The Halls (which truth be told was a little rough around the edges as most people hadn’t practiced much) and Marlene won the party game because she knows pretty much everything about movies.
The next Xmas, we did the same thing about the presents, plus to make sure everyone was really happy we decided we’d each bring our own refreshments to Marlene’s house (it was her turn to host). So I didn’t have to pretend to like egg nog, and nobody had to eat Marlene’s stuffed brussels’ sprout hors d’ouevres.
Well I don’t have to tell you we had an ever better time, what with all of us having the snacks we liked best, etc., and that year we sang The Twelve Days Of Xmas (we were a bit better, having Shelley for the first time really brought the group up in terms of talent) and played charades. Everyone thought it was hilarious when Terrance had to act out Martin Van Buren (which he did brilliantly, we realized, once he told us who he was.)
So why mess up a good thing? The next year it was my turn to host. We bought ourselves presents again – I got myself several very good books and a Pizza-Of-The-Month club membership (Gold Level: no Canadian bacon, guaranteed!) – and brought our own snacks but I put a twist on it this year: I said instead of trying to figure out what one party game everyone would like what if we each just brought along a game we could play and see if anyone else wanted to join in? So while I was playing Football Megastorm XVI (another gift to myself) Marlene was playing solitaire at the kitchen table, Daniel was doing that one zombie game on his phone, and Terrance had his Sudoku which nobody ever likes anyway, leaving Todd to play chess against himself while Shelley and Lisa tried yo-yo tricks. At the end of the night everyone was very happy, and the break we took to all sing Angels We Have Heard On High really made us feel extra close, since it was the only time we were together actually all night.
I know what you’re thinking and no we didn’t decide the next year that we would all just stay at our own houses with our own presents and our own games. Don’t be stupid: how would we have the annual Xmas carol we sing if we weren’t all together? So we just did the usual bring-our-own presents/snacks/games, this time to Lisa and Shelley’s apartment, and the song we all had practiced was Carol of the Bells and even though it’s a tough song we nailed it, I think. I don’t know, you tell me: we posted the video and you can go watch it.
This year around about April Shelley sent an email to everyone pointing out that it was kind of dumb for us to celebrate Xmas only on December 24, because what if people wanted to celebrate it some other time? She had decided, she said, to give herself a trip to Alaska for Xmas and she was damned if she was going to Alaska in December. Why don’t we all just pick a day for Xmas that works for us? She wrote. That was like the best idea everyone had ever heard. My Xmas Eve was October 23, the day I finally had enough for the motorcycle I’ve been saving up for. And if I want to sing along with the others I can just go key up that video and sing with that because really I think that was kind of our high point anyway.