When the boys were young, we used a Countdown to Christmas calendar. It had a pocket for each day that held a strip of paper with an activity that would help us get ready for Christmas. Even though I haven't used that calendar for many years, I still like the concept of spreading out the holiday activities, and try to do one or two things every day to make the season less hectic.Between now and Christmas Day I'm attending three different events where we'll play Rob Your Neighbor.
In case you're not familiar with the concept, the game of Rob Your Neighbor (which I've also heard called Dirty Santa or a White Elephant exchange) involves trading gifts. The hostess sets a price limit, and each person brings their gift wrapped. There are infinite variations on the game rules, but basically each person gets to select a gift, unwrap it and then possibly lose it to someone else and have to select again. Being able to steal from someone else is what makes the game so much fun.
Each of my events has a different flavor. At one we use dice to select our gifts. With these rules, rolling a 6 will get you a present (or a chance to rob someone else for one). At the others, we use a number system. Everyone picks a number out of a basket. Whoever draws the number "1" gets to go first, number two is next, and so on. When it's your turn you get to pick a gift from the pile or you can steal someone else's. At the end, the first person gets one more chance to select a gift from all the now-opened options.
The details of my Robbing:
- Tomorrow night is my work party, and I was instructed to bring something to eat and a $15 gift. Last year there was a large variety of items. Some were seasonal, and some weren't. It was my first year attending, but I quickly learned there are some things that come back every year to be re-gifted, and some inside jokes about the items other people bring. I'm looking forward to being "in the know" this year.
- I've been going to next week's game, at the December meeting of a women's group at church, the longest. Once again, I need to bring an appetizer or dessert to share, but the gift price limit for this one is only $5. The gifts at this event are overwhelmingly holiday-themed.
- On Christmas Day the extended family will get together at our house for dinner and a wild game of Rob Your Neighbor. This is the third year we've played, and the hardest one to buy for, since the group is so varied. Both male and female, we range in age from 50-something to younger than 16. This time I have $10 to spend.