There are only two rules to our annual party: you have to be over 21 and you have to have some relationship to someone on the fire department at one point in your life. Oh and if you can bring a bottle of wine rule number 2 is easily forgotten!
Not all the wives make it every year, I believe this was one of the quieter years. However the veterans, we know this is the one party you want to attend. I know what you are thinking, a Yankee swap? Those are so boring or you end up with crap. But that is only if you don't follow the rules:
1. Only invite one person who will bring a crap gift (aka a candle), all other guests must be reliable to bring something one or more people will want to have in their home.
2. Count the number of people at the party (do this before the wine is open, trust me on this one).
3. Put numbers on tiny bits of paper and place in a hat/bowl/shoe.
4. Have everyone pick a number without looking at it, knowing that the host will probably end up with the first number or the last (this is important information, I hope you are paying attention)
5. You begin to pick gifts in the order of your number. So, number 1 you go first.
6. From that point on you either steal a persons gift (please do) or open an unwrapped one. This continues on until the last unwrapped gift is open. Then person #1
7. You can only steal an item once, so if you really want that chatski you have to begin to create an alliance. This is where the real fun begins.
For example, you really had the perfect gift and your arch nemeses stole it. You are no unable to resteal. BUT you have an alliance with 3 or more people. You have some one else steal for you, you then steal what they want. Working together, you make sure that you go home with the gift you want and not the buddah butter that Kate got stuck with!
In past years our swap has included: lobster, anything fire department related (yes, we are fools), beautiful jewelry, alcohol (the more children we have the less sought after this one is), home décor you would actually hang in your house and the ugliest nutcracker you have ever seen that has a stipulation that you have to bring it back the following year.
In our case, the Swap lasted just over 2 hours. We have had epic ones that lasted over three. Last night, one woman almost peed her pants, one fell off a chair and there was much shenanigans to make sure you didn't end up with the scratch tickets. Especially after they were all losers!
Happy Holiday Parties everyone, don't shudder at the thought of having a Yankee Swap. Just remember the rules: Wine, Friends and only one crap gift allowed!
My fellow Sirens, I will see you next December. I am already on the look out for my contribution!