One of the reasons we wanted to move closer to my hometown of Ripley, WV was because Jimmy and I attend church there and always have since we were dating, engaged and then, married. We attend Living Water Church, a non-denominational church that's getting ready to take over the old "Around the Farm Store" building.
From where we previously lived in Ohio, it was a solid 45min-1 hour drive one-way to church - and with our crazy schedules - it was very hard to be as involved in the church and with its' people as we would have liked to be. Once we moved to Ravenswood - 10 minutes away from our church - that burden was lifted!
After living in our home about five months, we wanted to throw a fun Christmas party for the young adults at LWC. With the 'ugly sweater' theme trending, we jumped on the ban-waggon and everyone had a blast finding their attire! Unfortunately, we had two couples that couldn't come because of sickness, but in total we had 15 people attend!
With every party there's always food and we had a great spread!
We all gathered in our family room and started munching down! Because of the great attendance, we were pulling chairs from every room to make sure everyone had a seat. That was exciting!
Along with your favorite food dish, everyone was asked to bring a white elephant gift for a lively gift exchange!
Nick Fox got to go first and when opening up his chosen gift, he was happy to find a meatloaf baking pan. This could be put-on, but to me, he seems happy to get his hand dirty in the kitchen! ;)
Tyler, my brother, chose a package that turned out to be an ornament and his wife, Molli, asked him to hold onto it and not exchange for the meatloaf pan....hahaha!
Also, you may see that he and his wife did not wear 'ugly' sweaters. Well, they're huge Marshall Herd fans and they said that a WVU sweatshirt would be ugliest they could find!
Now Josh wasn't sure about his gift, so he stole Emily Fox's gift, which were fake lottery tickets saying she had won $1,000. With baby Fox on the way, she was upset that they were taken, but happy to know she wasn't really missing out on money that could have been spent on the baby's nursery!
At this time, I can't remember what Molli - my sister-in-law - got, but I know it was something she wanted to keep and was upset when it was taken.
In the exchange, I had wrapped up some furry hand-cuffs and boy was that a hit! Nick was the one to open them up and Doug (pictured below) screamed out, "Brother, you don't need those. You've already got that under control,"referencing he and Emily becoming parents soon! We all had a laugh, but because we got him with our gift, he encouraged Jimmy to chose the gift he brought, which ended up being a Duck Dynasty (Si) loofah and Chapstick.
As you can see, Jimmy was pretty stoked!
Brian Wilson, somewhat new to LWC, opened up a bottle of aromatherapy lotion.
Needless to say, he was less than enthused, but his wife Chrystal was ecstatic!
Doug and Carla Harper, LWC Worship Leders, had a laugh with their gifts. For Doug, a pink princess sippy cup and a 'Pep Talk' machine for Carla. The Pep Talk is kind of like one of those snooze buttons that yells out different things.
Now this was the kicker!
I was afraid some people would forget about the gift exchange and since the church is still somewhat new, not everyone knew each other. This exchange was geared to be a fun way to break the ice before starting a game, so I just wrapped up some items we had around the house that were either deemed re-gift, or duplicates. Everyone has re-gift items, right? :)
Well, I didn't look carefully at this duplicate "Devotions for Couples" book that I wrapped. Inside, there was a personalized message to Jimmy and I! I about died when Crystal opened it up and started reading it, but it really, really lightened the mood then!
After the exchange we played a few rounds in the game Things. If you're not familiar with this game, it is a great family-oriented game for ages 10+. The object is for the 'reader' to read a card to the group that says something like this: "Things you wouldn't want your doctor to do before surgery." From there, everyone writes down their answer - whatever it might be - on a piece of paper and they pass it to the reader to be read aloud. Once it's read aloud, a group member will say, "Tyler, I think you said ______" and it just goes until everyone figures out each others answer. This game is great for bout 8 people, but we had 15, so it make it somewhat hard remembering who was in, out, said what, etc. This game can be purchased at Walmart, Target, and Toys-R-Us.
Pictured below are the winners of the Ugliest Ugly Sweaters!
First place - Nick Fox (Middle); Second Place - Benji Jewell (far Left); Third Place - Brian Wilson (Middle blue); Jimmy Will - Fourth Place (far Right)
The joke the whole night was that Doug Harper's sweater wasn't ugly enough!
We all told him to wear it to church the next morning and see how many compliments he got on it. He said that the button holes were worn out and that was probably why it was pitched to Salvation Army and that the metal shaped mannequin that his lovely wife, Carla, picked up there for me, could have it!
Merry Christmas from the matching ugly sweater, Will's!