I love a good company Christmas party! It’s a night out with good food that you don’t have to pay for, and there are usually gifts or prizes. And on top of that, there’s a good chance that you’ll get to watch someone else make a fool of themselves when they are drunk! What could be more festive than that? Since I don’t actually have a job, I’ve had to rely on Ryan’s job for my company party fix. For the past couple of years, though, I’ve had choir commitments on the same night as Ryan’s company Christmas parties, so we haven’t gone. I encouraged Ryan to go without me or to “take a date”, but he would have nothing of it, and if I couldn’t go with him, he didn’t want to go alone. If the situation were reversed, I would TOTALLY go without him.

This year was different, though. For some reason Ryan’s company planned their party for a Thursday night when I didn’t have choir stuff, and I was excited to go! But then, with the slow economy, the company had to let some people go, and decided that to host a company party would not be a wise idea. I have to agree that it’s a better idea to not have a party, than to spend a bunch of money on an open bar. But still, then we’re out of a company party! My friend Kristy describes the disappointment perfectly in her post called “The Economy – Stealing More Than My 401K.”

As it turns out, I DID have a choir commitment the night of the party, after all. We had to rehearse for the Music and the Spoken word for this last Sunday. And if you didn’t catch the MSW this week (shame on you! You should have been watching!) you can find it, or last week’s wonderful program, and look for my bright smiling face at the BYU TV site. Yesterday’s program will be on next Sunday at 8:00am or 4:00pm, I think. I was kind of relieved that I didn’t have to try to make it to both a rehearsal and a party that night.

But never fear, we still got to go to the Choir Christmas party. It’s quite a lovely affair at the Grand America. I think they set up for about 1000 people, and the food was great this year, and the company was so much fun.

When I was signing up and registering my guest, I decided to mix things up a little bit. Instead of “Ryan”, I registered that “Dirk” would be my date. Just for fun. A day or so before the party, I did mention to Ryan that he “may or may not have to go by a different name at the choir Christmas party.” He was open minded about the whole thing, and when we got there to pick up our name tags, there was his–Dirk Erickson. “Dirk?” he said to me? “I’m Dirk?!”
“Well, yes, I guess you are,” I replied, “Isn’t that fun?”
“Whatever.” Thankfully we were in party mode, and he didn’t get too annoyed with me.

So, when we sat down to eat and laugh and joke with the people at our table, we wondered if the others at our table would notice my husband’s name change. Maybe they don’t know his real name? About 15-20 minutes into the dinner, Ryan commented to me that maybe no one notices name tags, anyway, because there had been no comments on his new name. But never fear, my friend Maranda was the one to notice.

“What the heck?” she said when she looked at his name tag, “Dirk? Who’s Dirk?”
That got everyone looking and asking why his name tag said Dirk. “Oh, because Paige is just weird,” was the best answer we could come up with. And we all got a good laugh out of it. Maybe next year we’ll Both have different names. We could be Rhett and Scarlett or something like that. Or Bonnie and Clyde, or Lea and Luke, or…. but one of us probably has to be a choir member. Darn. But it was a fun little way to see if people actually notice what your name tag says.
It was a lovely night, with good friends, good food, and the dessert was good this year! And it’s always nice to have President Monson attend the party!

So we still had our “company party”. On Saturday we had two family parties. One with Ryan’s family in the day. There was tons of yummy food, a talent show and some gift opening. It was very fun, of course. Then my family had their party at night. There was lots of yummy food, a craft, a giant twister game, a puppet show, and Santa came. It was probably the quietest family party we’ve had in a long time, since several families didn’t come. It was a wonderful mix of visiting with family, fun for the kids, and presents from Grandma.

This week we have our neighborhood party, which is a WHOLE different atmosphere. I’ve had to miss this one for the past couple of years, too, but this year I am lucky that they scheduled it later, and I can go. Ryan has no problem going to that one without me, by the way. I’m working on our white elephant gift, because that is the highlight of the party! Nothing too personal and embarrassing, like some people do, but I do want something original and fun. One year I gave away tickets to a U of U game that was in SanDiego. I don’t think they got used, but it’s a fun idea. Another year I gave away tickets to some show that was playing in Wendover the next night. I don’t have any quirky tickets to give away this year, but I do have a nice Manheim Steamroller gift basket with Halloween music and light up teeth in it. I think that might be my gift of choice this year. That or some just for men hair color. Maybe both.

What’s been your most exciting white elephant gift? My brother-in-law once took a tarantula to one of these things.

Today brings making and delivering the neighbor’s gifts. Last night we baked up three different kind of treats, and today we need to finish up the packaging and send the kids out to deliver them all (hopefully before the storm comes in). And my brother and his family are coming to stay with us for a couple of days. I hope they don’t mind that the house is a mess. With all the party attending, bell ringing, and baking, I haven’t gotten around to much house cleaning. Oh well, it will just get messed up when they are here, right? So we are just starting out with the house pre-messed!

If I don’t get a chance to wish you all a Merry Christmas, please know that I do wish you all the most wonderful Christmas week. Let’s all try to enjoy our families and the fun and excitement that is Christmas, and not worry so much about the details that we all think need to be perfect. There’s only a few more days to drink in the wonderful feeling of Christmas, so let’s all enjoy it!