Okay, I will admit it, I have made the naughty list every year, as long as I can remember, so when I saw the above cartoon, I just couldn't resist. But even though I expect coal in my stocking, I always love the holiday season. This year though, I have to say, as much as I tried, I couldn't seem to get into "The Christmas Cheer." I usually attend a party that my life long friends and I have been having for over 20 years. When our children were toddlers, we started taking turns, each year, hosting our annual Christmas Party. Whoever's house it is at is responsible for the meat of the meal that we all eat together, while the rest of us bring a variety of corresponding side dishes, desserts, drinks, cookies and candy to share with the group. When the kids were small and they all still 'believed', we would hire a Mr. & Mrs. Clause team, and they would arrive some time in the evening to deliver gifts to our children that we parents drew names out of a hat for, a few weeks prior to this monumental event. The adults then participate in an near violent, White Elephant Gift Exchange. There are 6 of us ladies that form the base of this group, two of us are sisters, two are friends that we met in grammar or middle school and then, when I was 19, I met what would become one of my best friends. She was part of a package deal that included her childhood partner in crime, and that was when our foursome became a six pack. We usually extend an invitation to any of our ex husbands (and their families) that father one or more of our children (isn't that sweet of us, lol, tis the season), as well as a few randomly selected people that we have spent extra time with during the current year. Now that all the children are grown, we have ditched the Clause imposters and we ALL participate in the near violent, now turned violent, White Elephant. Hindsight being 20/20, we should have stuck with the Kringles, because the exchange has become one of the most cut throat, sneeky, have no mercy, strategic displays of Christmas Un-Cheer that you will ever witness. I am not sure why we even do it anymore because we all get so frustrated with each other, that it's beyond ridiculous. Maybe we should consider all of us drawing names, it would be much less chaotic and much more friendly. Because now that all the children, who are now in their late teens and twenties, have become involved, the gifts went from being the typical type of Christmas gift to a vast array of holiday alcohol gift sets, various 420 paraphernalia items, and an abundancy of different gift cards ranging from Amazon to Victoria Secret. I have had no influence on this group of drinkers, I swear it. We close the night with a game of Left, Center, Right. Please note that I didn't use the words 'friendly game'. Reason being....it is far from friendly. Not to mention, it takes an extremely long time to play because there are so many of us. And it never fails, one of the brats.....I mean one of our offspring, always wins! I haven't figured out how they cheat but I am certain they do. These evenings always include a lot of alcohol, several group shots (the kind in a tiny glass containing alcohol), and an overkill of posing for pictures in front of the Christmas tree, on top of the usual photographic coverage of one of our events. I cannot begin to explain or even imagine the number of pictures that we girls have taken together during the many years of us being friends, roommates, bridesmaids, etc. It's not everyday anymore that the 6 of us, and our families, get the opportunity to get together, so it has become a reunion of sorts. For the first time since conception, I didn't go last night. I'm not even sure exactly why, I didn't really have any other reason other than I just can't get into this year. I didn't tell anybody that I wouldn't be there so I am sure I will hear about it. Christmas just isn't as much fun without experiencing it through the eyes of your children, when they still believe in Santa. Instead, I went out to dinner with a new friend and had sushi and saki bombers, lots of laughs and a fantastic time. I think I needed that more. I went Christmas shopping today with one of my daughters, bought all the gifts I needed to (and some for myself), in one big schwoop. I was watching a talk show the other day and they took a poll, 80% of people said they would stop giving Christmas gifts if everybody else would. 80%!!! Maybe it's time to put an end to that tradition and remember the reason for the season, once and for all! Anyhow, I suppose I am grateful for the last 24 hours, because finally, I am somewhat in the mood to take off my Grinch hat and get this thing over with. With that being said, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!!!