‘Tis the season to be jolly, to don that red sweater and to attend the company holiday party. Our Graco holiday party is slated for this Friday. Back in the day, Graco was located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country-just one exit west on the PA Turnpike from where we are now. Back then, our holiday party was held in the cafeteria at the plant. It was the largest room able to accommodate everyone. We’d have a nice luncheon and then – back to work. Since we moved to Exton, our holiday party has been held in our showroom, complete with Santa, gifts and prizes (as a result – I’m up to my ears in Rubbermaid containers). Free eats, fun, and freezer containers – can’t beat that combination.
This year, we’re getting closer to our roots and heading back up the turnpike for the holiday party at a Pennsylvania Dutch Smorgasboard close to Graco’s old stomping grounds. For many of our newer employees who are not familiar with that region, the area and the food might be a memorable curiosity. For the rest of us, it will be nice to go back to the heart of PA Dutch country. I think we’re lucky to have this opportunity to celebrate the season together, the way things are, not everyone is as fortunate.
Nothing says holiday fun more than celebrating with all your co-workers in an area that boasts towns with names like Paradise, Intercourse, and Bird-in-Hand (they’re real towns – look ‘em up!). We may even see some Amish folks in their horse and buggies on the way.
The PA Dutch folk are not without their holiday traditions- take the Belsnickel, for instance…kind of a grumpy version of Santa. He’s such a legendary figure in that area that a local theater company is even performing Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” with a local twist including the Belsnickel. Ho-Ho-huh?
Not sure what’s on the menu this year, but in PA Dutch country, I wouldn’t be surprised to find Shoofly pies, whoopie Pies, chow-chow, maybe something slathered in Apple butter and dare I ask for – ring bologna or scrapple? Now them’s good eats!
So Graco is going home for the holidays, as it were. This Friday, I’m sure we’ll see a good number of red sweaters (not me, though – last time I wore a red sweater, five firefighters tried to board me), and we’ll likely enjoy the PA Dutch scenery and food. But most of all, we’ll enjoy each others’ company and be thankful for the opportunity to do so. I just hope the Belsnickel doesn’t show up – I’d certainly rather get more Rubbermaid containers than a lump of coal!