Our Christmas Party with a "How To" on White Elephant Gift Exchange and my new Nikon D3200

Rich and I have hosted our Christmas party for a number of years now. 5? I'll go with 5- that's when we built our house. We've done the Ugly Sweater Party, The Redneck Christmas Party, The Tacky Christmas Party and since I am 34+ weeks pregnant I just left the theme at "Christmas Party". I don't have a ton of decorations or Pinteresty recipes to share, just family and friends getting together for our annual party. 

Things we always have: 
Cocktails
Cookies
A White Elephant Gift Exchange
Charades
Fun

I don't get gifts for all my friends because as they say in Minnesota, it's "spendy" so we do a White Elephant Gift Exchange instead. Deets on that below. Since there are only 3 kids (soon to be 4) in our group of friends, I do get gifts for all the kids from Olivia so we let the kiddos exchange when the party started to get going. 

Olivia and Sebastian exchanged gifts and after seeing what the other one got, decided she wanted his bear-car-thing and he wanted her Doc McStuffins book. Nnn'alright.... 


Someone brought out a bucket of mini liquor bottles for a game we played and the kids crawled/toddled/ran right for them. Olivia grabbed one and threw it on back like she was drinking it (closed of course) 
We told her no no no get away from that and she walked away like, "busted......" 


It goes without saying that our Christmas Party is far from our classiest party...

You can tell from the sleeves that I ordered way way waaaay too big on the sweatshirt. I bought it in October thinking I would be massive - turns out I'm not as big as I planned and I had to tie it in all sorts of crazy '90s loops in the back to make it fit. 


The lips say Taylor Swift but the headband channels 2Pac. < I'm not embarrassed to admit I had to google how to spell 2Pac right there. I wrote "Tupack" and realized my 'white girl' was showing. Apparently you can spell it a number of ways. Insert Kanye Shrug Here. 

We played charades per tradition with this year being movie titles men vs. women as we waited for the rest of our guests to arrive. The guys and gals went in separate rooms to write down 20 or so movie titles the other team would have to act out. Olivia was downstairs with the boys and came crawling up to us after a few minutes. We jokingly said, "Olivia, spill it! What movies did they say?" 
She reached her arms up at me and said, "Up!" Well there's one!

The guys won. Boo! 

Every year we have a White Elephant exchange and after many years we finally perfected it. Here's how we do it: 

1. Each participant brings one real gift and one gag gift. We have a suggested cost of roughly $30 (give or take ten) for the real gift and no cost value of the gag, just be funny and creative.
2. Wrap your two gifts separately and do not label them. This way as you're playing you don't know if you're grabbing a good gift or a bad gift.
3. Some of our friends play as a pair so a couple would bring one real and one gag and would end up with 2 gifts, not each, you take home as many presents as you brought.
4. Draw names to see the order of how you're playing.
5. The first person goes and grabs a gift to open from the pile. Remember, they have no idea if it's a real or a gag until they open it. 
Oh no, that's not my kid digging in her butt....

6. The next person goes. They have two options: 
a) Steal a gift
b) Open a new one

7. If they steal from someone it is then THE PERSON WHO WAS STOLEN FROM's turn to either steal or open again. This is why it's helpful to write down everyone's name in order on a chalkboard or white board with one person in charge of knowing who's turn it is and which gifts are still up for stealing *
8. If they open a new gift instead of stealing you move on to the next person who then opens or steals. 
9. *A gift can be stolen only 3 times then it is considered dead and owned by the person who stole it for the final time. 
One column of your chalkboard or white board will have the order of the players. The other side will have a list of the gifts as they are opened. As a gift is stolen, make a tally mark next to it indicating it was stolen. When there are 3 tally marks and the gift is 'dead' you cross it off and it is no longer up for grabs.
10. If you get your gift stolen you may NOT steal it back. You must steal a different gift or open a new one. When it is your turn again you can then try to steal it back if it's still up for grabs.
11. The game ends when the final gift is opened. No matter how many steals are left on gifts. The final gift being opened = the end of the game.

Strategies: 
1. Stealing a gift is a GOOD idea! I can't tell you how many years people would end up with 2 gag gifts because they wanted to open something rather than stealing a good gift that was still circulating. If you only open gifts you may end up with just gags and nobody will steal those from you. Boo, you're stuck.
2. Encourage others to steal from you if you're not thrilled with your gift! I ended up with a bottle of scotch (can't drink it obviously) so I wanted someone to steal it from me so I could go again and either steal something I did want, or open a new gift. 
3. When purchasing a real gift you do not purchase it with any one person in mind. Ex: My real gift I bought was this and Rich's was this. 


^ I'm pretty proud of the gag gift I submitted. 


^ Rich is VERY proud of his gag gift he submitted. He took one of the paintings I had done at a Wine and Canvas night which was horrible and I kept hidden away in the basement. He recently found it and decided it was the perfect gag gift and even created a Certificate of Authenticity to along with it that he had me sign. 

I attempted to create a cocoa bar but gave up about halfway through. Not a single person utilized it so it was a bust. Whomp whomp! 


^ Pinterest fail-ish. They worked but weren't as pretty as I thought they'd be. Giant mallows for dipping in your cocoa. 

For grub we had everyone bring either a crockpot dish or a plate of cookies. Almost everyone did cookies/sweets so I had quite the cookie hangover the next morning. 

The night before our Christmas party Rich surprised me with my Christmas gift early. He wanted me to take time to learn it and play with it so I'll be ready for Christmas morning with it. 

I got this beauty with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G lens. THIS will be my next lens. 


I have been wanting a new camera for a long time. Every shot I've taken that you've seen on this blog until this post has been with my iPhone or my Nikon J1 camera. I got the J1 when we went to Italy a few years ago and never really liked it. It was just a fancy digital camera with blurry shots. I literally used it maybe a total of 100 pictures and let it collect dust in my closet for all these years. 

I can already see the difference in photos without any editing or lighting tricks using this D3200:


Stage mom alert. Get ready for oodles of photo dumps. 

The next day we went to my family's Christmas Party. My family is so large that we hold it on the weekend prior to Christmas so that everyone can make it, and my dad (the host, now you see where I get it from) rents out city hall because there's so many of us that we can't all fit at one person's house. 


Headband from Etsy no longer available

We had such a great weekend and are so excited for today and tomorrow. If I keep having insomnia like I do right now then I shall update soon otherwise, have a very Merry Christmas everyone! 

1 comment

  1. Can I come to your Christmas party? Rich's certificate of authenticity had me in tears - "barely fucking finished." Dipped marshmallows are delicious wether or not in hot cocoa - more for the pregnant lady. And I love that Olivia tried to drink the liquor. OH and, you are going to love the camera. Santa was good to you!

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