The "mommy" friends we’ve made through our children, have a fun tradition we have been celebrating for
10 years now.
Ranging in age, ethnicity, education, religion but– all with the common bond– motherhood. At first it was mommy and me, then Gymboree classes and My Gym. We started soccer together– music classes, beach camp– baseball, surfing, volleyball, Cotillion and many many other activites.
Every December we have a traditional Holiday potluck party at the home of one of the mommies. We bring a wrapped gift for a "white elephant" gift exchange And enjoy the homemade holiday treats and eats. The most popular version of the White Elephant allows any number of people to participate. However, the number of participants should be
at least six for the game to be fun. Each participant is asked to bring a gift worth no more than a pre-agreed upon amount.
Participants draw numbers from a hat to determine their gift choice order, starting with one, up to the total number of participants.
Each person takes a turn choosing a gift. The first person picks a gift, opens it and shows it to the rest of the company. Then the number two participant picks a gift and chooses to either unwrap it or to exchange it for the previously unwrapped gift. If the gift is exchanged, the person who had their gift taken from them gets to
unwrap the chosen gift and then the turn passes. When all the gifts have been opened, the game is over.
Since items can be stolen, the item in your possession is not yours until the game is over. However, this is often amended with a rule declaring a gift "dead" or "safe" after it has been stolen a certain number of times (usually three). This helps the process go more smoothly (avoiding, for example, the hypothetical scenario of the same gift being stolen by every successive participant) and limits the disadvantage of being among the first to choose gifts.
White elephant parties can result in vicious rivalries between players trying to get sought after gifts. The is more entertainment rather than gain.
We look forward to so many of the traditional rituals; the gift exchange you can count on Stephanie to always makes her famous Key Lime Martinis, Tracie always spills something her drink (sober BTW) utensils Sharon has her home decorated just so perfectly! We catch up our lives– how our children are doing in school (middle school this year). Mary is our go-to television guru shell tell you what you can’t miss. Lisa has all the useful information and anything retail– sales, recalls, consumer reports. Susan is the dessert queen… You HAVE to save room for her decadent delights. Shelly’ knitwear is always the most coveted of these fabulous gifts.
Our conversations have gone from what brand of car-seat to buy for our toddler to what the current fashion trends are. Being a makeup artist– my friends like to pick my brain about the latest and greatest makeup techniques. It’s so reassuring to have a supportive group of friends with such intimate history together; being first time mommies, sharing our childs triumphs (potty training), and separation anxiety (woes), spending our carefully planned days the park and what slow cooker recipe to try.
Here’s Stephanie’s actual "thank you" email. She summarizes all our sentiments best! As I said last night, really enjoyed the party last night.
"How fun it was to talk last night about the boys…do you realize it is the first time in a long time, that we have been able to talk about teachers that we all knew! The kids/our lives have come around to where our children are all together again!
It seems that as the years pass, we are establishing great traditions with this party. Everyone looks so forward to it and it has become so comfortable for everyone. At least for me, it’s like going to a family party without the disfunctional family members! (well maybe just a couple…minimal for my family!) Thank you both for all the time and effort you put into this for us every year. It is truly becoming my favorite tradition….
See you guys for our next celebration! Mary’s Birthday!