I had my first Grade One party in a looong, loooong time. Since Grade One actually, which was decades ago. It was hard squeezing into a pint-sized armchair, and with 40 or so fellow stage mothers around it was one crowded affair.
But it was quite a happy way to start the party season. And since it was held in the room where I spent my original Grade One party, it was like teleporting back to the days when teachers can rap your hands with a ruler and still get a nod of approval from your mother.
Between then and now, a lot has certainly changed. Christmas trees and decor used to be communal efforts, and we had to bring ilo de bila(???) that we would tack to the sides of a big bilao to make a hanging Christmas tree. The Christmas balls served as art projects: we would string beads and sequins on pins and poke them into plastic balls. Today, the tree is made of tinsel--made in China, I presume. The balls, too, have the generic, shiny, from-the-factory look.
We had to rely on ourselves for entertainment then, but now there's Jollibee shaking his booty. I don't know why--or how--an oversized insect reached demigod status and but the kids really had a blast! Between Santa Claus and Jollibee, I'm sure they would settle for the bee.
There were no I-got-a-towel tears during the "exchange gift." Gone were the Curly Tops, the boxes of pretzels and the face towels folded into soap dishes of my Christmas parties. The instructions were specific: boys should bring toys for boys and girls should bring toys for girls. And so it was mayhem as the kids tore open their gifts, got a toy car or a stuffed toy or a doll and forgot everything else, including the party clothes that we forced them to wear.
The joy on the kids' faces was enough to ring in Christmas cheer. I had put off sprucing up the house for the holidays because the tree would end up bare anyway and it would take as much effort to take down as to prop up. Suddenly, though, it was Christmas all over, and I felt the excitement as well.
The kids were still playing and the clean-up duty was left to some of us. As I retrieved a broom that had obviously seen better days, I espied the Noisy Standing Pupils list in a corner. Being on the NSP was every grader's nightmare then. And if you ask my not-quite-naughty daughter, it still is now. I guess despite the time lapse some things never really change. And it felt really good to be back.
PS: A day later, it was our office Christmas party. Point of comparison: the kids were certainly more mature than some of the adults :p