School Christmas parties. What child doesn’t love those afternoons at school that are spent doing something special, especially when it’s a party of some kind? When I was in school, we did parties for Halloween, sometimes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. The Halloween parties were always a lot of fun because we did a school-wide parade around Lenkerville, but the Christmas parties were still my favorite.
When I was in school, the Christmas parties involved the usual sugary piles of treats, a Christmas craft or two, and games run by “room mothers,” but in those days we also did a gift exchange among the kids in the class. At some point in December, the teacher would have us all draw a name of one of our classmates, and we would have until the day of the party to buy a gift of no more than $5 for our secret recipient–that doesn’t sound like much, but remember, $5 bought a lot more then than it does now.
Some of the kids would bring their gifts in early, and they would be placed beneath the tree in our room. What fun it was looking for a gift with my name on it and trying to decipher the handwriting and figure out who my Secret Santa was! Of course, we had to fight the temptation to pick up our gifts to test their weight, feel the shape, and shake them. I think I only remember one or two of the gifts I received from these school parties, but I’ll never forget the fun of the anticipation.
A lot of the games were some variation of the usual kids’ party games, like Bingo, word searches, word scrambles, or relay races. I was especially good at those word games where the teacher would give a word or phrase such as “Merry Christmas,” and we’d have to see how many smaller words we could make from the letters in a given amount of time.