But it almost never rains in Phoenix this time of year. Well, it did this year. After two years of canceling our annual end-of-year holiday celebration, we decided to try an outdoor event. With two years of delays and labor shortages, reserving a location for our normal formal dinner was expensive and the choices were limited. On top of that, we didn’t know if there was going to be a new variant of the virus and a potential upsurge. So renting a pavilion at Chandler’s Desert Breeze Park seemed like a good way to go.
Not only do they have a great space for gatherings, but there is also a small train, a carousel, and great playgrounds for the little ones and the young at heart. We were also able to line up our go-to purveyor of tasty food, AZ Barbeque Catering. Decorations were procured. Lawn games were prepared.
And then something that almost never happens, happened. Rain. Almost a half inch of rain.
The average for December 3rd is 0.04 inches, and that is with a 10% chance of any rain. It was also going to be in the low 60’s. That is artic for us desert dwellers.
Well, after a bit of panic, we realized that in the rest of the world this is normal, that we did own jackets, and that the pavilions were fully covered. Our fantastic volunteers who coordinated and set up arrived on time and did a great job of preparing the space. These Santa’s helpers created a festive mood with plus Santas and Moose along with a trail of candy canes and other sweets for the center of the tables.
Games were set up, a place to decorate river rocks, and our Corn Hole was placed in the middle of the second pavilion. Once AZ Barbeque showed up and started cooking, we knew everything was going to be just fine.
Speaking of which, the food was wonderful. Especially the Tri-Tip and the Mac and Cheese.
These events are always great because you get to talk with people you don’t interact with every day and, best of all, you get to meet their families. It is a fantastic opportunity for spouses to get to know each other and maybe poke a little fun at us.
Our canine family members had a blast, and most of the kids were thrilled by the wet and ended up throwing a football around in the rain and mud.
Once we finished eating, we held another annual tradition, the PADT Holiday Gift Exchange. Once we got too big for the secret Santa of the White Elephant game, we started doing the “Right-Left” game. The way it works is everyone takes their gift and stands in a circle, then you read a story with the words left and right in it. Every time you say left, you pass your gift to the left, and every time you say right, you pass it to the right. We write our own story to make it a little more fun. This year, it was about a picnic that could have gone very wrong if it wasn’t for the intervention of Father Christmas himself. You can read the story, and find links to nine previous stories, here.
So, despite the rain and two years of COVID cancelation, we had a fantastic time talking and laughing and eating and playing silly games. And isn’t that what the holidays are all about, anyway?