Virtually Fun

Since my local State agency and Husband’s State agency in Bismarck are considered health care facilities, we can’t have in-person office gatherings in which we share a meal due to pandemic protocols.

Yesterday, the social committee at my agency held our annual Christmas party over lunch hour. We all filed in to the main meeting room, filled our take-away containers with deep fried turkey, knoephla soup, and all manner of casseroles and baked goods, and returned to our offices to fire up our computers to play trivia games in a Microsoft Teams meeting. We also had a scavenger hunt to find things in our building that were either red, gold, green, or silver, based on on the team we were assigned to. I was on the red team. I took the red fire extinguisher off the all outside my office to show on-line, along with all the red items in my play therapy room.

In Bismarck, Husband’s party was also virtual during Wednesday’s lunch hour. Each “work team”, in its own space, staged a tableau from a well known Christmas movie, again, with computer video, and others were to identify the movie via chat. The Psychology Department depicted a scene from “Jingle All The Way”. This was followed by an all-out, virtual Pictionary game drawn on a white board for people to guess the Christmas song depicted. Everyone’s answers were delivered via Microsoft Teams chat. The food came from the Pizza Ranch.

We all want to engage with one another, and we miss the camaraderie. We enjoy our coworkers so much. Virtual is as good as it gets for now. Oh, for the days when we all got together for a catered meal and live music at the Knights of Columbus Hall with spouses and partners in tow, and the Regional Director would get blitzed and start singing, and there would be pinochle into the wee hours. We were all younger then.

What are your best and worst Christmas parties ever? What kind of party would you throw if there was no pandemic?

29 thoughts on “Virtually Fun”

  1. You’re gonna make me cry, remembering the post-Christmas card party every year with my grandma and her siblings. We played for pennies (MIchigan Rummy) and we all had our little jar of pennies for that purpose. (IIRC, Euchre was something men in fish houses played- little girls did not go ice fishing).

    Game had to finish by 10pm so you could watch the news (WCCO, without fail), then have Christmas leftovers (stollen, cold turkey, pickles) for “lunch” before everyone went home.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    I have not experienced many Christmas parties that were much fun—this is not my holiday. So often they are just rote expectations. However, last night the Master Gardeners in my mentor group had a very small gathering in a private home. Everyone was vaccinated and boosted. It was so lovely to sit together nibbling appetizers and sipping drinks in person, chatting away. NIbbling and chatting was something I did not appreciate enough until December, 2020, when these things did not occur. Last night we just had this little sample of the rewarding in-person interactions we experienced so often in prior to the pandemic.

    This Master Gardener group has been a haven since May when we had our first outdoor, in-person gathering in front of the Hennepin Co Extension Office. We have adopted this garden to tend and manage, so through the summer we often met there to pull weeds or spread mulch. We bonded. So last night we decided to continue our tradition of garden tours and gatherings that we began this summer. They kept our heads above water emotionally. Two of the three mentors will continue to mentor. The third will be teaching classes in another part of the program. So the two mentors will gather their new mentees with this group. So the party last night was not dancing on the tables, toasting the holiday. It was just hopeful.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. PS, VS’s gift exchange is advertised as a Solstice Party, so it is left out of the not-fun Christmas parties I have experienced. The Gift Exchange is a great deal of fun.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks Jacque. I consider the Great Gift Exchange as a gift to myself; I enjoy getting ready for it and enjoy being with all my peeps. Fervent wishes that we’ll be able to celebrate in 2022!!

        Liked by 5 people

  3. There have been some pretty epic post show cast parties. I have a lot of fond memories of those.
    Then there was the New Years Eve parties that we were lucky enough to attend for a few years; hosted by a doctor / board member of the theater, I really felt like I was hanging out with the wrong crowd, but those were good parties. And even our own Porta Potty Parties have been fun.
    We need one of those again

    Liked by 3 people

  4. We had our holiday gathering last night after work. There are just 9 of us and we’re all vaxxed so we met at someone’s party room – little buffet and drinks. Then we filled some “Cheerful GIvers” bags for which we had all brought some gifts. There was that game in which you have to open a big saran-wrapped ball of assorted little gifts w/ mittens on. A couple of my co-workers were pretty competitive; I went in with low expectations and turned out to be the big winner of the night. It was a low-key evening but felt just right.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. By protocol we will not be with Sandy for Christmas and also two birthdays.
    I do not like parties very much.
    Faculty uased to have a Christmas party and end of year party. They were stopped because a few people thought it was funny to belittle some staff emembers.
    It was at a Christmas party that I discovered I have FM when I bumbed into a person and dropped a plate of food and aslo earlier dropped a glass of wine from another moment of FM unawareness of where I was in space.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not to make light of this Clyde, but a line from a play that I have always remember it is this:
      “If you drop something at a stand up party, move away and keep moving”

      Liked by 4 people

  6. One person mailed Sandy pancake mix and three jars of special maple syrup, a person from upstate New York. They know she is in assisted living. Then someone else, not sure who, had sent a Christmas stollen made in Dresden. There were no instructions in English or best by date in English. The German on the unsealed bag does not seem to be instructions. I know there is no date. Rock hard. Does not look appetising. They came with an oven mitt. This was all from Williams Sonoma. I can look it up on their site but there are no instructions. It cost $28.00 plus shipping. I assume it came from someone who knows she is in care, since almost everyone does.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had a Dresden stollen once (sent, in fact, from Dresden) and it too was rock hard and rather dry when sliced compared to my expectations. “Authentic” it may have been, desirable? not so much.

      I ended up dunking it in my coffee. I’ve never been able to bring myself to toss anything that is still somehow edible, and dunking sweet baked goods in coffee or savory baked goods in soup is the habit of a lifetime.

      Good luck with all that.I stopped giving gifts to elders after helping to clear my sainted aunt’s apartment and finding year’s worth unopened with the tags still attached (including non-perishable fancy food neatly stored in the pantry).

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I’ve had luck with putting the item in a brown paper bag that then gets dampened and put in a 300F oven for maybe 10 minutes, but I don’t know how the powedered sugar covering one of these would fare.

          Liked by 4 people

    2. I made 12 Dresden stollen this year to give to friends and family. I nabbed the last bottle of German brandy in town for drizzling them when they come out of the oven. Supply chain issues, I guess.

      Liked by 5 people

        1. Tomorrow is cookie plate day around here. I have eight different sized plates/boxes all set up and will fill them in the morning. Most of the deliveries happen tomorrow as well.

          Liked by 5 people

  7. The excitement is building for our visit to South Dakota for Christmas with our son, Dil, Grandson, and our daughter from Tacoma. It could be a fun gathering, but there sure are food expectations. Son texted me today that he was going to go “slumming for gutter lefse” (meaning store bought) if I didn’t bring any.

    Liked by 7 people

      1. I am being made aware today in several places of the effect the pandemic is having on my traditional potato item consumption:

        No homemade church lefse (I’m not Norwegian, but go to church with a lot of them and I like it)
        No delicious knishes from Sholom
        No annual latke feed and airing of the grievances

        for the 2nd year running now 😦

        Liked by 4 people

  8. Husband’s last workplace had a tradition of a restaurant meal together, and they chose some really fun ones – Gasthaus on University, Chipotle one year, Nicollet Island Inn, Buca di Beppo… And there would be a gift exchange of comestibles – mostly bottles of alcohol. They were fun, sometimes there was music – it was a fun group.

    Still thinking…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I remember a party I had during Christmas break of freshman year, at my (folks’) house for seven high school friends. We gave each other gag gifts – in the photo (I just looked) we are holding up: a cigar, a flask of some kind of whiskey, a garter belt, etc. We may have been drinking (gag) rum and cokes or something, trying to not be too obvious – not sure where my folks were – maybe out?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I enjoyed myself at many holiday parties hosted by various workplaces over the years. There was one that stood out as Not the Greatest, though – it was supposed to be a performance of Ballet of the Dolls at a venue in downtown Minneapolis, when our office was in St. Paul. We were on our own for transportation, and I took a bus to Minneapolis. It was bitterly cold. When I got to the venue, the dinner menu was a cold wild rice salad. I don’t think there was even any appetizer or anything with it. I don’t remember anything about the performance, because my view was blocked by one of many large pillars in the building. I think it was a basement level room, and all I remember was being cold. I think someone gave me a ride home. That was the highlight of the evening.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. i grew up here and for years my old buddies hung out for three or 4 get together a year
    4th of july , christmas get together and a fantasy football year end celebration
    drink and party games food and laughs
    then they all got old and grew up
    lord knows what they are up to now
    i get called for funerals
    my family get together shave become my favorites
    food and charades
    hanging with the grandkids
    maybe i’m getting old too

    Liked by 3 people

  12. This time of year is nice for the beauty but I find it to be full of expectations. I try to keep my expectations low so that I’m not disappointed. I find Christmas parties to be obligatory and awkward. It’s really not my favorite thing. One year, some women friends made lefse in one of our larger kitchens. We worked on a huge batch of lefse for hours while sipping lots of wine. That was fun and I got to stumble home with a stack of freshly made lefse. Most work parties are just awkward. My current workplace is different in that we are 24/7 with each other and with the clients we care for. So getting together isn’t that big of a deal. I think some team-building games might be beneficial though. Gift exchanges are too awkward. I made a pair of mittens for everybody there this year because I have the skill, the yarn and the time. But I don’t expect anything from anyone and wouldn’t want them to feel obligated. I do enjoy white elephant parties.

    Liked by 1 person

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