From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 18:37:03 -0700 (MST)
At RoseWind, we tend more to celebrate "all" holidays, rather than none. 
Keeping in mind that members include Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Quaker, 
Unitarian, Hindu/meditational, Wiccan/pagan/goddess, Interfaith, atheist 
and "none of the above", we've often had general seasonal decorations- 
pumpkins and autumn leaves, evergreens and lights. 

More specific gatherings have been held, for whomever wishes to come. A 
couple years ago I held an Autumn Equinox ritual, and tried to let people 
know well enough in advance what sort of ceremony I had in mind, so the 
attenders could self select. Others have organized coloring Easter eggs 
and having an egg hunt, Halloween parties, Thanksgiving or Christmas-Day 

Each year many of us have gathered for a Solstice party as originated by 
a Danish member. Besides candles and food (and a Danish hot wine drink 
called Glogg), each person shares some sort of performance. Offerings 
have ranged from music and poetry by the genuinely accomplished, to 
more-amateur but spirited sharings of songs, writing, dance, storytelling 
and jokes. I'm no singer, so I enlisted them all in singing WITH me: I 
brought the words and got everyone singing "Waltzing With Bears."

This year we've had a Thanksgiving dinner, with a number of visiting 
family members. Saturday we'll decorate the common house with whatever we 
packed away last January, plus whatever shows up (a tree, I hope!). At 
our Dec 14 monthly meeting, we'll follow the morning agenda with potluck 
lunch and our annual funny gift exchange. 

If you haven't done a "swap" gift exchange, here's how: everyone brings a 
wrapped gift (set maximum cost- ours is $10 though some don't cost 
anything). Have a specified gift for each of the children, since they 
don't do well in the snitching game that follows. If you have 25 adults, 
25 presents, then write numbers 1-25 on bits of paper, pass in a hat, 
draw a number. Number 1 gets to choose a gift from the pile in the center 
of the circle. Opens it, passes it around perhaps for appreciation. 
Number 2 may then either choose to unwrap a new gift, OR claim what 1 
just opened. If that happens, the person who just lost their gift takes a 
new gift. By the time number 16, say, is taking their turn, they have the 
option of stealing ANY gift already opened, if they choose to, rather 
than opening a new one. And each person who is "stolen" from, likewise 
can claim another already-opened gift, except you can never take back 
what you just lost. We put a limit of three 'steals" per gift- so after 
the third steal, that gift is retired from what's fair game. We often 
have some very funny white elephant gifts, as well as some very 
attractive gifts (chocolate and wine, and wool socks, have been hot 
items). Lots of joking and teasing. And when it's all over, some behind 
the scenes trades so things get to who really wanted them most....

Lynn Nadeau, RoseWind Cohousing
Port Townsend Washington (Victorian seaport, music, art, nature)

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