December is my month: my birthday, my wedding anniversary, my favorite holiday. It is the best. I spend eleven months of the year fully embracing my pessimistic, sarcastic, cynical self. But for one glorious month I set all of that aside and turn into a combination of Will Farrell in Elf and Emma Thompson in Love Actually (minus the husband drama). It’s embarrassing really.
Having said that, for an introvert like myself, December can get a bit overwhelming. I am convinced there are more parties and gatherings of people in December than the rest of the year combined. Between the cookie exchanges (delicious as they are), the white elephant gift parties, the secret Santa exchanges, the kids’ classroom parties, the caroling get togethers, the wreath making parties, the work parties, and on and on and on, it can all become a bit much. It turns out, you can have too much of a good thing. Someone should make up a saying about that…
As I was staring at my calendar longing for the doldrums of July, I started thinking about the kind of party I would actually like to go to, repeatedly, year after year. Because, let’s be honest, we all put our best foot forward on year one of the cookie exchange. I’m talking about cookies to make Martha Stewart cry. But by year *mumble inaudible number* we are just taking fancy tinned cookies and decoratively plating them. The white elephant gifts that were once hilarious, carefully thought through, and chosen based on the highest level of irony are now just tired, old leftovers from the back of some random closet. The tone of the parties tends to wane with the years.
Except one. A new one. I have only heard of an online version of this but have never seen one in real life. (If you have…have I ever told you about my four children? I don’t get out much.) And I need to find a way to make it happen.
I am talking about a book exchange party! (I know, right?!) You get a small group of friends together. You set a monetary limit on the books you will buy. You shop and buy one book per party attendee. You meet at the designated party time. Every one gets a book from each party attender. You eat and drink (but NOT with the books in your hands). You leave (WITH the books in your hands). Perfection. What’s that? That is exactly like every other exchange party at Christmas time? Ummm…yes, yes it is. But did you hear the part about the books? Because that was the most important part, especially the part about leaving with all the books. I mean cookies are amazing, don’t get me wrong. I very rarely turn down a good cookie exchange, but BOOKS!
The variations are limitless. I am actually squirming in my seat just thinking about it. You could have one with your child and his or her friends. You could do one with books you already own (yes, that would be very difficult but it would be interesting). You could do one where everyone buys multiple copies of their favorite book they read that year. You could all go to the used bookstore together and buy the best $1 books you can find. Or, or, or…
These are the kinds of parties I can go to, any number of these kind. *hint, hint*