Monday, December 22, 2008

Ornament Swapping at the Townhouse

This past Friday the Castle in the Air staff gathered for our annual holiday dinner and ornament swap. We celebrated at the Townhouse Bar & Grill in Emeryville, a cozy gathering place with a colorful history not far from the shop.

Everyone at Castle in the Air is an amazing artist, and the ornament swap is our chance to honor that and enjoy the creativity and camaraderie we all share. The hours (sometimes days) of preparation of each ornament is also a lovely gift to give oneself during the holidays, when it's easy to get swept away tending to our loved ones.

On the night of the swap, all the ornaments are brought to dinner
wrapped in gift boxes and places at the center of the table. We all draw numbers from a hat, and whoever gets "1" gets to open a package from the pile. We move on through "2," "3," and so on, and each person has the chance to open an unwrapped package or appropriate someone else's ornament. High stakes!

Each of us has our own artistic personality that is reflected in the ornament we make. Shari made an adorable matchbox miniature, John an optical illusion Santa scene using a convex mirror and Victorian scrap. Daniel's decoupaged gnome ornament was actually a box full of holiday treasures. Maggie took a glass ball and seed beads and made an ornate Victorian lampshade. Julie's Elizabethan bird was made of samples of nearly every delightful supply we carry. Fantastic! I brought the Mad Hatter (with butter in his pocket watch) and his friend the March Hare. Even my husband and kids got in on the fun, with spectacular result. I wish all the photos from the evening came out so you could see.

It's really magical to watch as each person opens their package and reveals a little holiday wonder. We all take some of that magic home at the end of the night!

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