By Woodrow Polston
The Vandalia Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated its third annual after hours Christmas party last Thursday evening. More than 30 people joined the fun, including nonmember guests who were representing area businesses. The party was held in the Charlene Teague Genealogy Center at the Vandalia Area Historical Society Museum located on Main Street. Many of the guests brought in finger foods and beverages.
“There is plenty of food here tonight,” said Charla Smith, chamber president. “There were approximately 50 email invitations that went out earlier in the week, so we had a good turnout,” she added. After everyone had finished mingling, things quieted down while they were enjoying the food. There were a variety of chips, dips, including both chili and spinach, and a large crock pot of little smokies. And at the end of the table, there were even little weenies wrapped in bacon.
The silence didn’t last long though, after Ramsey Dickerman began to call out names for the white elephant gift exchange. This turned out to be the highlight of the evening, as some of the members and guests ended up with really nice gifts, while others received laughable duds. There were a few gifts in fact, that made everyone in the room crack up. One of the lucky guests received a unique collection of ceramic cats.
The best part of the gift exchange was that a person could choose between picking out a gift, or stealing one of the better gifts that someone else had already received. This happened a few times, leaving some of the lucky recipients with empty hands. But if a gift was stolen from a member or guest, they would get to take the thief’s place in picking out the next gift from under the Christmas tree. The gentleman who received the ceramic cat collection, seemed to be the only one at the party who was hopeful that someone would steal his gift.
After all the wrapping paper was cleared, and the gift bags were tucked away, some of the attendees went home with rather nice gift baskets, while others went home with small ceramic cats. Arguably, the most interesting gift of the evening was a Christmas tree toilet plunger, which almost everyone at the party previously did not know existed.
After the gifts were all gone from under the tree, everyone continued to engage in conversation. There also seemed to be trade deals in the works, as many gifts were being passed around the room. The unusually warm December was discussed at one table, while another group talked about church. It was a good evening to relax and enjoy the company of others, without talking business. Which of course is common, for members of the Chamber of Commerce. They meet the second Monday of each month at Spare time Bowl and Grill, at noon.