Once Thanksgiving is over, it seems like the last month of the year kicks into high gear. At Soliant, each of our offices holds a holiday dinner where everyone gets together for good food, conversation, and gift exchange.
Holiday Cheer in California
The California team started with a dinner at West Park Bistro in San Carlos, CA. On the night of our dinner, nearby streets were closed off in preparation for the "Night of Holiday Lights" lighting festivities scheduled to commence that evening. What normally is an easy parking situation, turned into a "Where's Waldo" version for parking spaces. By the time everyone arrived at the restaurant, we were all ready for the meal to start, post haste!
Our private room was also where all the wine is kept. We were disciplined and did not grab any of the wine from the racks 😉 When it came time for our White Elephant gift exchange, there were a couple of sought after gifts that reached the limit on times stolen. We had a boisterous and fun close to our dinner.
Holiday Dinner in Pennsylvania
The next holiday dinner was at L'angolo Restaurant in south Philadelphia, where our Pennsylvania team gathered for a delicious Italian meal. When I spoke with Managing Director, Craig Stabler, about their party, he said they did a Yankee Swap. I was curious if it was the same thing as a White Elephant exchange and found out that it is — it goes by different names, such as Yankee Swap, Dirty Santa, and so on.
Everyone enjoyed the delicious food and rather than stealing gifts when it came time for their Yankee Swap, they all opened them at the same time. No one had to try hiding their gift under a chair to prevent it from getting stolen.
Holiday Celebration in Chicago
Our final holiday dinner was held at Formento's, which is two blocks away from our Chicago headquarters where everyone enjoyed scrumptious Italian food. I'm sure with the extremely cold temperatures, that short walk from the office was much appreciated.
The Chicago team does a White Elephant gift exchange, but with an added twist. Six years ago, someone did a "re-gift" by bringing one of our gray, button down Soliant shirts as their gift. The next year, the person that ended up with the shirt brought it back, but with embellishments on the epaulettes. Thus, a tradition was born. Whoever ends up with the Soliant shirt at the end of the gift exchange must bring it back to the next year's holiday dinner with a new embellishment.
Previous embellishments have included, fancy epaulettes, color piping, a light, silhouette patches, fleur de lis, and a hat. This year, Dawn Heady brought the shirt back with even more lights, including a light up tie! The Chicago folks have brought their gift exchange game up to another level.
Happy holidays, everyone!