I have been thinking about this one for the past few days. I'm really not coming up with much on the topic of holiday parties. I am sure we had cookies at school when I was young, but what I really remember is trading Valentine's Day cards and having treats for that, not Christmas.
As an adult, my holiday parties have not been what I consider to be the "typical" holiday party in that I have only been to one in which everyone dressed up and went to dinner after work. That was for a party for James' company several years ago. It was out at McMenamin's Edgefield and I was not thrilled about having to drive all the way out to Troutdale on a dark road by myself. I don't have the best night vision, especially in areas I am unfamiliar with but James and I were coming from different directions and it made more sense to meet there.
We ended up being the first ones there, so we explored the hotel and some of the little shops that are on the grounds. It was so cold! We ended up watching a blown glass demonstration, partially because it was cool to see how it was done, and partially because it was warm. A couple of weeks after the party, I went back and got James the paperweight we had watched them make and gave it to him for Valentine's Day. He kept it on his side of the headboard and that is one item of his I will always keep.
Soon, the others started to arrive, but they still weren't ready to seat us so a group of us girls explored the hotel looking for ghosts. We really wanted to get into the attic, but it was securely locked up and there was no way to get around it. So that was a bummer.
Finally, we were seated. James, our best friends, another couple and myself were seated at the far end of the table-we felt like we were at the little kid's table, and proceeded to act like it. It all started when the server came to take our orders and as seriously as he could, James asked her if any of the menu items were kosher. That was so random to the rest of us we couldn't help but laugh. It ultimately became a running joke and has now been asked at several restaurants. He did at one point actually go to a kosher restaurant and was quite impressed with how the food is handled and prepared. If James was interested in something, he was not shy about asking questions and learning all he could about it.
After determining Edgefield does not have a kosher menu (at least they did not that night), James moved on to using everyone's wine and water glasses to make music a la Sandra Bullock in "Miss Congeniality." He was quite good at it. The rest of us, sadly, could not get the hang of it, though that did not stop us from trying for much longer than was really necessary.
Those of us at the kid's table had a great time that night. I am pretty sure the same cannot be said for the grown-ups.
The company I work for now has a pizza party and white elephant gift exchange one day during lunch. That is usually entertaining as there is usually one really raunchy gift, at least one Starbucks gift card, a couple of nice gifts and a $10 bill. So far, I have come home with a copy of "American Pie: The Naked Mile," which I traded for to add to our "American Pie" collection, a dart board, and a flask shaped like a hammer, which is still in my desk drawer and which I have been granted permission to use on a really annoying co-worker.
Our best friends' family also has a white elephant and pizza party on Christmas Eve. Last year, my friend braved the nasty roads to come get me for it and I ended up with a white elephant, which was kind of bittersweet as after my work party last year, James had made the comment that it would be really funny if someone took a white elephant to a white elephant party. It sits on my filing cabinet at work. He is carrying Budha around and is protected by my ninjas. I have an interesting assortment of things on my filing cabinet that I am always looking to add to. Maybe one of this year's white elephant parties will give me a new toy for my collection.