For almost 20 years, my parents have hosted a Christmas Dinner for their seven children. I have always loved this child-free time with my siblings and my parents. It is a wonderful tradition that unites us in celebration and love. All of us have flown the nest years ago, yet we return yearly on the Saturday before Christmas to a very festive holiday spread and good will.
This party allowed my parents to have a Christmas party and spend some quality time with their children. As spouses or significant others were added, the amount of guests increased, as did the amount of food mom and dad prepared. It was lovingly called the couples party as that is all there were in attendance.
Most years we drew names at the family Thanksgiving dinner for the couples’ party; this way we had a few weeks to find the perfect $5 to $10 gift. However, some years we simply brought a gift for a woman or a man and exchanged them at the party. No matter how we exchanged the gifts, it was memorable because of either the gift or the story behind the gift.
Like the time my brother was dating a woman who frequented the adult store. She went to that store and bought an adult-natured coupon book designed to add romance to any relationship. That year each couple were asked to simply bring a male and female gift that was numbered. Any of the males at that party would have gotten a laugh or two from the coupon book but not my catholic boyfriend who I was dating at that time. This year we drew names so we can tailor the gift to the person, which is much easier I think.
The Couples’ Only Christmas Party is not only a time to reflect on the events of the past year, but to share the laughter and fellowship of our immediate family. Someone is always ready with a camera to shoot a candid photo or two.
Mom uses her best china on the tables, which number three, and those tables are covered with the red tablecloths that are reserved for Christmas use only. The centerpieces are hand made by mom, as are the name cards at each setting. It is very festive.
This year the couple’s only Christmas party is forever changed as my dad passed away a few days before Thanksgiving this year, but one of my parents’ grand daughters will sit in my dad’s chair this year. Family traditions have to be flexible for some things, but its nice to that some things will remain the same such as the undying love my family has for each other that carries us though the rough spots in our lives.