There's a group of six women (five plus me) from my very first small group at Harvest, 7 years ago, who are very dear to me. Among us there's quite a diversity of personalities and interests (and ages, even), but somehow our friendship works, and thrives, and when I gather together with these women I know I will laugh harder than I have in quite a while.
For several years now we've done a "holiday hang" - a time when the 6 of us get together to enjoy a quintessentially Christmas activity and each other's company. For the past several years, a white elephant gift exchange has also been a highlight of the hang. This year, we began at the Bean in Chicago (1), then went to Russian Tea Time for tea and a scrumptious array of savory and sweet treats (2). From there we walked to the Christkindlmarket in Daly Plaza, where we enjoyed the sights and sounds of the festive multicultural outdoor marketplace (3-7). From there we went to Macy's to see the storybook window displays (8), and then back to my place, where we enjoyed a hot cider-chai infusion and carried out our gift exchange (9 - yes, that's a genuine Snuggie) with much laughter and mirth.
Here's a pictorial review of the day's festivities: