We left the girls with Grandma for the evening (and overnight) and arrived at the decadently decorated country club around 5:45pm. We were directed where to leave our coats and my wife was handed an envelope and a raffle ticket. Inside the envelope were ten different raffle tickets, two vouchers for adult beverages, a plea for people to either drink responsibly or use the company-provided taxi service without charge or condemnation, and an explanation on how to enter for the prizes that were littered about the room.
There were fourteen prizes for which an employee might enter one or all ten of the raffle tickets from the envelope. This allowed for a bit of strategy as one could either enter ten of the fourteen drawings with one ticket per drawing, or if there was only one item that employee wanted, they could put all ten of their tickets toward that prize to increase their odds of getting drawn. We’ll get to the prizes in a moment.
There were no assigned seats for the three hundred some guests, so after perusing the prizes and snaffling some appetizers, my wife and I loitered about waiting for people with whom she worked more closely to arrive. As we were waiting, my wife’s boss, the emcee for the evening, started calling out numbers from the individual raffle tickets (not part of the ten from the envelope). The winners of these impromptu drawings were given a choice of ten cash envelopes, ranging in value from $50 to $1,000.
I’m going to ruin the suspense for you a bit here. We did not win one of the cash prizes.
Once some of my wife’s closer coworkers showed up, we snagged a table and waited for the dinner to begin. Before the meal though, we were somewhat surprised, but quite pleased, when one of the board members was asked to pray over the meal. And though the official name of the event was Holiday Party, we were wished a Merry Christmas and reminded that Christ’s birth was the true gift this season.
Dinner was served semi-buffet style with food stations located around the room. My wife and I parted ways for different lines, each grabbing a plate for the other, and we ate dinner in shifts. Our courses consisted of salad and pasta, followed by prime rib and mashed potatoes, and then we entered the dessert line together (dessert was chocolate fondue and cheesecake). Every part of dinner was delicious.
After dessert, the winners of the big prizes were announced. Here are some of the things that people were able to put their ten tickets toward:
- 47″ LCD HD TV
- 16 GB iPad
- Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Accelerated Charger, and a Blanket
- 7 Piece Patio Set with Umbrella, Base, and a Tall Outdoor Fireplace
- 2 Lions vs. Vikings tickets
- 10 Griffins Hockey tickets with Griffins jersey and $25 Visa gift card
- 2 ticket to Les Mis in February and a $150 gift card to Webster’s Prime
- Cleaning Package with 2 people to clean your house for 2 hours and a pressure washer
- Kitchen Package with new pots & pans, a knife set, and mixing bowls
- $200 gift card to The Melting Pot with a $50 IMAX gift card
- Wine cooler, wine glasses, corkscrew, and 2 bottles of wine
- 2 Two-day Go Chicago passes (they let you into 25 Chicago attractions for free and first in line)
- Keurig Special Edition Coffee Maker, Assorted Coffee, Keurig Coffee Stand, 2 mugs
When we put our tickets in, my wife and I decided to put nine out of ten of them toward the Les Mis tickets and one toward the iPad. Our strategy centered around the fact that the Les Mis showing happens one day after my wife’s birthday, and a fancy dinner and a show would be a nice way to celebrate.
As we ate with her coworkers, discussion came up about the prizes, which ones people had entered for, how nice they would be to win, etc. Then after dessert, the drawings began. We had to wait until nearly the end for the winners of the Les Mis package. And then it happened.
“696073,” announced the emcee. “That’s 696073.”
My wife stood up. We had won.
Afterward, the boss of my wife’s boss stopped by our table.
“Congratulations guys,” he said. “You got the best prize up there.”
“I know,” said my wife.
And we did.