20th Annual Adopt-A-Family Holiday Party
by Bill Pearch, Saturday, December 7, 2019

If you've visited this website before, you know its dedicated primarily to baseball. Holiday talk generally revolves around George Winter, Steve Christmas, J.T. Snow, Luke Easter and Matt Holliday (sorry about the extra "l"). But today, this blog will take a slightly different twist. I can't believe today is our annual Adopt-A-Family Holiday Party. And this year marks a significant milestone.

Since we host Thanksgiving and our holiday party, for years I have joked that every single plate, pot, pan and piece of silverware Susan and I own receives a thorough cleaning at least twice (but realistically, three times) between the two events. We're talking about our nice plates, our day-to-day plates and even that silly Roswell alien plate (it's always hilarious to see who gets that one each year).

Today marks our 20th annual party. The tradition began two decades ago with Susan's college friends. Rather than purchase gifts for each other, they decided to do what their parents taught them and decided to share with others who are less fortunate.

So, how does this event work?

Susan and I invite friends over for dinner on us. In exchange, we ask for a financial donation to purchase gifts for the families we adopt. We ask our guests to consider what they would spend to go out to a special dinner. Since we contribute to several local organizations, all donations are tax-deductible. Each year we're amazed at people's generosity. For the last several years, a majority of our gifts are given to Carol Stream-based Humanitarian Service Project.

On Friday, the day before the party, a smaller group gathers for a round of pre-planning. It involves breakfast, organizing lists and transforming our basement into a gift-wrapping production line. If needed, we make a few stops to purchase items that we cannot buy as a group on Saturday.

On Saturday, around 2 p.m., the early crowd heads to Target in Lombard and goes shopping. With lists in hand, we divide and conquer the store. Yes, guys buy the toys and the girls buy clothes. Slightly stereotypical, but it just works out better that way. We even have a niece and nephews who lend a hand. After standing in the longest Target line you can imagine, we return to our house and wrap presents. Honestly, I've been banned from wrapping due to my inferior wrapping skills. Don't worry, I'm not offended. That's just better for everyone. I'm happy to serve as a runner for the evening. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

Around 7 p.m. it's time to eat. I'd be lying if I said I didn't know what was on the menu, but I like to keep it a surprise. The rest of the evening involves catching up with friends who we see regularly and some we only see occasionally.

On Sunday morning, we will deliver the gifts. I cannot wait.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed throughout the years.