The Connection Runners + [travel]

A Very Merry Festivus/Christmas

Bits of wrapping paper and glitter from the Christmas tree garland are strewn about our house right now. Shopping bags full of opened gifts crowd our dining room, and gift cards burn holes in our wallets.

Translation: It was another busy but successful holiday season.

We kicked off our holiday Friday night to celebrate the most important of all holidays: Festivus. What? You don't celebrate Frank Costanza's anti-family, anti-jolly day of all days? You should. (Read more about Festivus here).

A 1997 episode of Seinfeld first introduced Festivus to the world, and the world hasn't been the same since. We had our first Festivus in 2005 when a friend of ours, Eddie, threw a Festivus shindig at his home.

Here's how this year's very un-festive Festivus went down:

The theme this year was Mad Men. We've explored various themes in the past few years - everything from Irrelevant Super Heroes to 80's Prom to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. If you're serious about Festivus, you'll be planning your themed costume months prior to the event.

Some of the ladies shopped for our dresses a few weeks ago; others combed their closets or scoured eBay for an authentic vintage find.

On the other hand, the men wore nice suits. They had it pretty easy.

In true 1960's fashion, I made sure to have a (water and lime) martini and a (candy) cigarette in my hand at all times. It's totally ok to drink and smoke when you're 37 weeks pregnant, right? (In 1962, that answer is yes.)

After filling up on appetizers and desserts, we watched the traditional Festivus episode of Seinfeld ("The Strike") before heading out to the bar area for Feats of Strength and Airing of Grievances.

While the original Festivus celebration featured a wrestling match for the Feats of Strength, we generally stick to team-based games that don't involve much physical contact (although there were a few bloody games of musical chairs years back).

This year's Feats included darts, a round of Spoons, Uno, a game of P&A, and flip cup. (See how cool this is? It's an "adult" party, but you get to play college-like games.)

But the best part of the night by far is the Airing of Grievances. This is where each person has the chance to tell others how much they've disappointed them throughout the year. The Griever must stand by the Festivus Pole (because tinsel is distracting, duh); the Grievees must sit quietly even when being called out for some asinine behavior.

Notice the anger on our friend's Shannon's face as she grieves against Eric. That is some serious disappointment.

By the time Grievances wrap up, it is usually pretty late, but not late enough for Festivus-goers to continue the evening drinking, eating, and being unsatisfied with each other's company.

With swollen feet and all, I made it to 1:30 a.m. before becoming very cranky and ready to head home for bed. I attribute that ability to all of the drinking and smoking I did all night.

Kevin and I spent Christmas Eve and Day traveling between families.

I found this gem of a photo hanging on his mom's Christmas tree...

... and we took a few photos with his fam.

Later, we headed to my aunt's house for more food, presents, and some serious game playing.

My nephew taught my Nana how to play an Elmo guitar...

... Kevin got schooled in the board game Pretty Pretty Princess, which he received from my uncle who'd played it with my cousin Sarah when she was little. Time for Kevin to learn the ways of a daughter!

We returned home late last night, only to stay up and watch six episodes of Dexter before finally falling asleep at 2:30. No idea where that energy came from.

A few fun gifts from the day:

A Pubs of Kalamazoo (the city where we went to college) poster, a CD filled with lullabied versions of Beatles tunes for LBA, and, thanks to your suggestions, a 30-Day Shred DVD!

I hope you all had a very merry and happy holiday weekend!

What was the best gift you gave or received?