Did your family throw a holiday party each year? Do you remember attending any holiday parties?
Our family did not have a holiday party every year; Christmas was a mainly a family affair. I believe my classroom always had a party (more on that upcoming in Advent Memories No. 16). Occasionally, my parents would invite someone over to share Christmas dinner, but it was not a "party," per se. We lived too far away from family to have regular holiday gatherings, too; in Advent Memories No. 13, I'll tell about a special Christmas with family in Michigan that we enjoyed one year.
When I moved away from my parents' home in Northeast Washington to the "big city" of Spokane in the fall of 1984 to attend college, work for my church, and live with my pastor's family, I attended several holiday parties each year. Our youth group of high school and college-age kids had a party, and a girlfriend and I somehow ended up as hostesses. We went out shopping and bought matching dresses. The mall we shopped at was a new big thing in town at that time. Originally, it had been a strip mall, and had only recently been enclosed. Now it sports three stories and is nearly surrounded by multi-level parking garages.
At work, we always had a whole-staff party, as well as a department staff party. I worked for The Salvation Army Kindergarten/Pre-school/Day Care, and we ladies would always go out for a nice luncheon. It seems to me we would exchange cards and/or little gifts (maybe we had a name exchange; I don't remember). Then the whole Salvation Army staff would get together as well. The only whole-staff party I can remember was probably in 1984. We had dinner at a nearby buffet house. Besides the Day Care staff, there were staff from Administration, the Community Center, the Thrift Store and Warehouse, the Booth Care Center (rehab), and Family Services. I remember seeing the Family Services staff, because there were these guys there with that weird last name--Midkiff. I had met one of them, Mike, down at the main building. He was the department head, but I didn't know any of the other staff from that department. One of them--the other Midkiff--had long, curly dark hair, but I really didn't notice him much. It wasn't until a year and a half later when I transferred to that department that Mike introduced his older brother, Norm, to me. The rest, as they say, is history. Twenty-five years later, Norm's long, curly hair has gone the way of memories and photographs, as he likes to say, and all of us have long moved on to other employers.
Now that I work for the local school district, there are several holiday parties thrown each year, some department, and always a whole-staff, party. The staff in my classroom likes to go to breakfast early one morning at a European breakfast house. Just like in my day care days, we bring little gifts and enjoy our time away from the students. The whole staff is usually invited to the principal's home, but I haven't attended so far.
The name tag is courtesy of Thomas at Destination: Austin Family. This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.