An Ornament Party or Something Like That

I have been hosting a Dirty Santa Party for the last 15 years. It is definitely the highlight of my holiday season, and if I'm honest, one of my favorite nights of the entire year!! I invite over friends and everyone brings a gift for a Dirty Santa Swap. If you've never played this game, the rules vary and I get to decide the rules at my party!

First of all, there is food! We had Friday Pasta catered from Taziki's and so many of my friends brought appetizers, desserts and wine! We had a full table and it was all DELISH!

 I'm so blessed with so many friends that enjoy coming to this party. Some we see all year and others not as much, but we get to celebrate each other and the holiday season on this night.

 A party isn't complete without photos, right? Well, I have a professional photographer that is one of my dear friends and she offered to take photos as a gift to me! Isn't that the best gift ever? Her Dirty Santa gift was a photography session with Santa for next year. Believe me when I tell you, this was the BEST gift of the night! Here's the pic from my session with Santa this year!

She set up a spot for everyone to have pictures made with friends in front of the tree. We took lots and Lori gave us tips on how to take a better picture. Chin up and out and lean over!!

 Can you tell these two are my sisters? 

Emma got to come this year! We may have to start a new tradition and make it a Mother/Daughter event!

 Oh look! Lori came out from behind the camera! 

The night isn't complete without a group photo! It's hard to find a spot for everyone at Hansel and Gretel. This place is brimming with furniture and holiday decor! You can click over here to see the Holiday Tour!

 I love seeing all of the candids of people laughing and hanging out. 

 We started the Dirty Santa Swap. This is wear everyone's true colors come out. If you want to play, you bring a wrapped gift. Back in the beginning, this party was considered an ornament swap. Up until this year, that's what I called it. I got a hard time after last year when some people brought ornaments and some brought GIANT letters that spelled J O Y. The gifts didn't feel equal to some and some left pouting, some with gifts and some without? The way we play is you count the gifts and if you brought one, you pull a number out of the hat to determine when you get to choose a gift. Number 1 opens the first gift, number 2 can steal it or open a new gift and so on. To keep the game from going on and on and a gift being stolen over and over, it can only be stolen twice. That means 3 people can touch it and it's dead. No one else can steal it. Unless, you are number 1, then you can take ANY gift whether it's dead or not! This makes the end of the night very entertaining!

 Sometimes, there are gag gifts. Sometimes, people play tricks on each other. A few years ago, Suzanne got a hold of Daphney's senior portrait…..She blew it up to an 8x10 and framed it. It was the best gift that year! Several got to take a magnet of Daphney from 1989 home with them! It was hilarious!!

This year, Daphney paid her back. She found a picture that Suzanne sent us while on a field trip with one of her boys. She was on the bus, the windows were down and she was having a blast. (not) Little did she know, Molly would play around with it and add a sombrero and mustache, make sure Daphney had it and a mug was ordered on Suzanne, the intuitive person that she is, picked the small package wrapped in red polkadot. She had no idea what was going on. EVERYONE else had been filled in throughout the night. When she grabbed that package, cameras came out and the surprise commenced!

She was COMPLETELY blown away! She was speechless. Do you know her? That does NOT happen! I wouldn't give anything for the way Lori captured this moment.

 It was the perfect ending to an amazing party! Thank you to all of my friends who came to the party. I wouldn't trade any of you and your friendships! xoxo

The good sport and her mug that is on every counter every morning this holiday season. Here's to you Suzi! muah!