A “Guilded” Christmas

quiltBust out the black tie wardrobe, it’s holiday party time!

Yeah, right.

Whenever I see ads for fancy clothes for posh holiday parties I wonder who has that life.

The office Christmas party I attend consists of my business partner (husband) and our employees (kids) ordering pizza some December night and sitting around in sweats to eat while we play Monopoly and joke about how we should use the winner’s strategy as our business model, then we write off the pizza as a business expense.

No gold-gilded holiday invitations fill my mailbox, but I do get a “guilded” invitation every year, which is a season highlight—my quilt guild’s Christmas social.

I know what you’re thinking.

A bunch of prissy hens in quilted holiday vests sipping cocoa and discussing thread count, but let me tell you we quilters know how to party—even in quilted vests.

The party climax is the gift exchange. Every year we decide on some small handmade item to exchange. We’ve made quilted potholders, embellished tea towels, scarves, pin cushions, etc. As in any gift exchange, there are liabilities. You might score somebody’s handmade-with-love-and-detail beauty, or you might tank with somebody’s last-minute-thrown-together-take-this-gift-and-shove-it bust.

I’ve given and received both beauties and busts.

The process of exchange varies from year to year. Sometimes we draw numbers and choose a gift to open in order, or play a game where we pass gifts around according to some silly story’s directions. Everyone gets a gift, but you can’t play favorites. It’s all very civil. But some years, we play dirty—like this year.

The gifts we made this year were table runners, which is the equivalent of ten potholders so stakes were high. The game was to draw a number and, in turn, choose and unwrap a gift, BUT you also had the option to steal someone else’s gift.

Oh yeah.

This is where it gets sketchy.

I’ll provide a quilt-castor play-by-play of the action:
The game kicks off. A few quilters open gifts—all decent offerings. Then Mary opens an elaborate cross-stitched Santa piece submitted by an over-achiever. All eyes go wide. Mary knows she’s now a target and downplays the item’s value. Laura immediately goes for the steal from Mary. Mary deflects, but the referee (quilt guild president) reminds her the move is legal and allows it. Judy avoids the drama and unwraps a new gift. Ohhh, it’s a dud! Nobody will steal that. It’s hers to keep. Lisa steals from Laura. Laura unwraps a new gift to replace the vacancy. It’s a gem that could tempt a steal leaving her open to steal back cross-stitched Santa. Kathleen steals Laura’s. Laura steals back from Lisa! They have cross-stitched Santa in a tug-a-war! The ref steps in and breaks it up! Dejected, Lisa opens a new gift. Dud! She’s done. Kari’s up. She’s one of the last to go. What will she do? She moves toward the small gift stack, she fakes, she steals cross-stitched Santa from Laura! Bold move, but there are still a few more people to go . . .

You’re hooked aren’t you?

You want to know if I ended up with cross-stitch Santa.

I told you we guilders know how holiday party.

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