Friday, December 21, 2007

Ornament and Cookie Exchange

December 21, 2007

Last night was our support group's annual Ornament and Cookie Exchange party. Traditionally this fabulous event is hosted by Blogless Leigh. This year, however, her home was in a potential state of disrepair (i.e., plumbing issues), so I volunteered to provide the gathering spot, while she continued to play hostess. We begin with an assortment of finger foods (thanks to Caroline and Blogless Leigh for helping me out with those!) and launch into games.

Leigh is a fabulous game-finder. In the photo above, the ladies are playing a game in which you must figure out a Christmas song by a rather twisted cartoon picture. This year Leigh also took a popular game and gave it a homeschool moms' twist. She has granted me her permission to print this here, because it really is perfect for homeschoolers. In this game, participants stand in a circle(s). (We had over 20 people and so formed 2 circles.) Each circle gets a gift, and the following story is read. Whenever the words "right" or "left" are read, the participants pass the gift to the person on their left or right, depending on the word. The person who is holding the gift at the end of the story gets to keep the gift. And the story:

Christmas was coming, RIGHT away! All the homeschool moms were asking, "How much school do you have LEFT?" We all wanted to finish RIGHT now, but some of us had Biology LEFT, and algebra LEFT, and three chapters LEFT in our history book, and we couldn't stop RIGHT at the good part! Some of us LEFT our schoolwork undone, and some of us LEFT our housework undone to make cookies every afternoon! I heard one Grandpa say, "These sugar cookies are RIGHT good!" and one Dad say, "I hope you LEFT some for me!"

The homeschooled kids were asking their moms, "How much school DO we have LEFT?" All the kids were LEFT wondering, "Does making cookies and ornaments really count for school?" and all the homeschooled moms were wondering, "Is this the RIGHT thing to do or will I be LEFT with regrets?"

Most of us will tell you the RIGHT decision is LEFT up to each family. We hope this time of year you are LEFT with some sanity. May you feel like you are making the RIGHT decisions and not LEFT with any doubts. We hope you have picked all the RIGHT gifts, wrapped up with all the RIGHT tags, and have all your cards labeled with the RIGHT addresses. We hope you celebrate with the RIGHT spirit this Christmas. I guess there is nothing LEFT to say except Merry Christmas, RIGHT?

So that was lots of fun. People are always happy to win a little prize, and it's great to see the competitive natures of these normally calm moms take over as they get into Game Mode. After all the games, we have a knock-down-drag-out-fight to politely exchange ornaments. Somehow, year after year, BrownSugar falls madly in love with an ornament that gets stolen from her over and over again. I wish I could buy her all the ornaments that have been so brutally stolen from her...

And then, finally, the cookie exchange itself. Everyone brings two dozen cookies and takes two dozen home. I believe ours are all gone now. I am telling you, we are complete cookie gluttons around here. It is truly frightening to thinking about how many cookies have been consumed in this household in the past two weeks. Thank goodness Small World's maximum weight capacity is being revamped.

I sure had a fun evening. Have I mentioned how much I love having such an incredible support group? I find it so encouraging to have such a diversity of women in our group, and last night's attendance of 22 was a microcosm of our group of 220 families. We had moms who have been homeschooling for 20 years and moms who are brand new; moms who are grandmothers and moms with toddlers. We come from various parts of the country, have different educational backgrounds and cultural experiences, and go about homeschooling in many different ways. But we meet like this and feel immediate comfort and acceptance. We speak a language that is familiar and don't worry about offending or compromising. It's a good place to be.

And cookies make it even better.

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