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Party like it's 2020

It's hard being an extravert during a pandemic. Especially during the holidays. The time when folks celebrate being a family, a networking group, a neighborhood, or a workgroup. I love parties, I love being with a group of people and excited to meet someone new. I love throwing my arms out wide to engulf someone in a full 2-minute hug. And yet, I know that change is the word for the year. Our annual holiday party is always on the first Friday of December. It started as a work tradition where all the independent contractors would ascend to the second-floor office and we'd celebrate another year. We'd rent champagne flutes to go with a case of Freixenet. An order of two large platters of shrimp from Red Lobster provided protein. We’d have a blast. The locations and people have changed over the years. We thought about not having one this year. Why? What’s the point? How could we really do our White Elephant exchange? And yet, I know that change is the word for this year. As you know, yesterday was the first Friday of December. We did our evites. Everyone was game for getting online—even the two folks that had never been on Zoom. We started by singing a parody of the pandemic to the tune of We Three Kings. We each talked about our pandemic blessings. We had a poll of our favorite holiday movies. The highlight though was using the breakout rooms. Dividing us up into smaller groups so we could talk. Somewhat like moving from the couch to the table to join a different group. Our white elephant worked out simply fine. The funniest part was the poor friend that lost five gifts, but now has a planner…like she has something to plan. We laughed. I mean we really laughed together. We smiled, we remembered. And the best thing. No cleaning and vacuuming. No cooking. No clean up afterward. We didn’t have to get the 13’ tree decorated before the party (that will be another story). We just had fun! And yet, I know that change is the word for this year. So glad we were willing to try something new so as to not miss something old. Friends together for the holidays. I hope you’ll try this too. Are you having parties or canceling them? How will you be laughing together with those that mean so much? Let me know what you’re trying. I’d love to give you a hug later to thank you for your idea! Hugs. Be Safe. You Matter Mary Helen

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