Laughter is the way I would describe this year’s annual HLA Christmas party. Ken and Tina opened their home to all of us for the evening and about 3 out of four hours I think we laughed…. hard.

We are blessed this year to have several new staff and so some of them were meeting others for the very first time. This sort of thing always makes me nervous because I have the built in urge to make sure everyone is happy and having a good time. But boy did we!

We started with a pot-luck type meal, packed with delicious dishes from every family. Then we moved to the living room for a game of White Elephant. Have you played this game? If not, it’s hilarious and fun. Each person brings about a $10 gift and places in the middle of the room. It can be a serious gift or a gag gift. Whatever you decide. Next everyone draws a number. Number one goes first, opening a gift of his or her choosing. Number two gets to either open another wrapped gift or steal number one’s already opened one. If two likes what one has… it’s gone! Then one gets to pick another present from the middle of the room. And so and so forth it goes, around the room, one number at a time, stealing and stealing.

Emotions run high, especially because once a gift is stollen the thrid time… it’s “locked.” You like that big bag of chocolate? Well, so does everyone else, so you better have a strategy to get it. Or you are out of luck. Once the last gift is opened the game is over. And the participants try to regain some humanity and catch our breath. So….

Here we are.. playing the White Elephant game: