(Day 7 of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Holiday Parties)
We were a large family for the standards of the 1960s and 1970s. 5 kids all born within 7 years of each other. When the Lassalle’s came to visit, people had to bring out card tables and extra chairs. We were rambunctious and loud. We were like a gang converging on your homestead. We didn’t go to holiday parties.
I do remember in my early years going to the Safeway company holiday parties. My Dad worked for Safeway. I remember them being in some sort of rented hall. There was food and Santa (played by my Godfather, I think).
Outside of that, I don’t remember us going to parties as a family. It was just too much work to get us all together and get us loaded in the car. They might have gone on their own, but how often can you find a babysitter willing to take on five kids? We also never had holiday parties at our house…most likely for the same reasons.
I remember parties when I got my first job for the county library system we had fun parties. We normally did not have much interraction between the different departments in our building. So for one day we all got together and mingled.
Each department was responsible for one part of the menu. We’d have so much food that the lunchroom would have leftovers for a couple of days.
After we ate, everyone would sit in the lunchroom for entertainment. There were would be little skits and music. I remember one of my co-workers, Henry, I think his name was, did a beautiful rendition of Someday at Christmas one year. Then we would have a sing-along.
We had a secret Santa gift exchange. And then who would appear, but Santa himself (or a friendly elf on leave). The children’s coordinator dressed up as Santa and called out names. He was normally very meek, but became a boisterous Mr. Claus.
I enjoyed those parties. It was nice to screw around for the day (hey, no one was going to get any work done anyway!) and enjoy each other’s companies in a stress free environment.