A Holiday Tradition with the Dining Divas Always Makes the Season Brighter

**Lisa Kampeter photo** revisedThe Dining Divas

By Lisa Kampeter

This time last year, we were celebrating but somberly.  We were festive but almost ashamedly.  We were charitable but quietly.  The Dining Divas 2012 Christmas party fell on the same day as the horrific Newtown tragedy.

What a difference a year makes!  The Divas Christmas of 2013 was loud and proud. There were new faces but many familiarities as this annual tradition continues to be one of the favorite Diva outings of the year.

The Newest Diva kicked off her night with a smooth shot of Cabo Wabo tequila.  The Non-Drinking Divas tried out the Skinny Girl Sangria and finished off the bottle.  The Wise Divas enjoyed mimosas with one part champagne minus the one part orange juice.   And everyone celebrated.

Although there’s always the option to find a nice restaurant to have our Divas Christmas party, the group consensus keeps with tradition.  Having it at a Diva home works the best.  We can cut loose without the concern of disturbing other customers.  We can yell at each other without the concern of being asked to leave.  And we can take our time without annoying anyone.  And this year was no different.

A few Chosen Divas provide the food; potluck dinners in the past just left us full and miserable.  Now, a small group makes the food, and we don’t end up with too much.  This year’s menu consisted of beef brisket, potato soup, salad, and spaghetti squash.   As well, the entire group brings cookies to share along with the recipes.  There were so many good treats to choose from, but the most interesting was the “Better than Sex” Chex mix, a Pinterest favorite of the Adventurous Diva.

Keeping with tradition, we brought back the “inspirational poem” of the year.  One Diva shares a poem that will inspire the group or allow them to reflect upon something that happened to them that year. The Over-Achiever Diva jumped right in to take a shot at writing it.  She was relieved to know that we never expect her to write it.  She was just to provide a meaningful one already written.  What a great job she did as she shared a traditional Christmas prayer with us!  It definitely set the mood.

As usual, the group also collected toys for Toys for Tots.  It’s so much fun to see what new toys make the cut each year.  Guaranteed, Barbie and Candyland always reappear.

After a few month hiatus, the Divas were glad to have the Educational Diva back in our company.  Although her classroom stories aren’t near as descriptive as they were in the past, we were glad to see how much she enjoys teaching at her new school.  She reported that the new transferred students at her school are working so hard and are determined to succeed.  There is such positivity from such an unfortunate situation with the failing school districts in the area.

Back again was a competitive game of “Rob Your Neighbor”.  With the “one-gift limit” enforced, the Ornery Divas weren’t given the option of cleaning out their closets and disposing of all their junk.  Expecting the best-wrapped gift to be from one of the Ornery Divas, the High-Maintenance Diva was surprised to find an amazing gift inside.  No junk!  The rest of us were really rooting for her to get a bad gift as she, along with another Childish Diva, spent the night dishing it out, telling each other off, and yelling good “cheer”.  These two were the same Divas who complained last year the whole time the group made blankets for the military.  They needed a time out.

The Childish Diva also complained about a birthday celebration for another Diva years ago.  This Diva’s birthday wish was to get a group of friends together to have pizza and watch a documentary of the boy upon whom the movie “The Exorcist” was based.   The Childish Diva and the High-Maintenance Diva complained that entire night too.  But on this Diva Christmas night, to the delight of the entire group, the Childish Diva was awarded the best gift of all…the copy of “The Haunted Boy”, the documentary that had haunted her so many years ago.  Paybacks at Christmas are truly precious.

New to the events of the evening was a hilarious game of “Heads Up”.  Fans of the “Ellen” show may be familiar with her version of the game.   Using a smartphone app of the same name, we enjoyed a heated competition of the game which is a modern version of charades.  The Oscar winner of the night went to the Dramatic Diva as she demonstrated her best “vulture,” incorporating a dive-bombing bird devouring road kill.  We were all in tears of laughter.

Without exception, the Dining Divas Christmas gathering kicks off the holiday season for me.  And without exception, it makes the season even brighter.  It seems fitting that we always end the year in the comforts of a home.   In a time when most no longer share dinner together around a table, I’m always grateful to reflect upon another year of wonderful memories made with friends at the table.

And that’s what Christmas is all about.  Making memories.  Enjoying the season. Remembering the reason. And for some, maybe a little rerun of the Haunted Boy.


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