Christmas Party

Trains, trains, and more trains

Trains, trains and more trains both big and small. The South Bay Railroad Museum was a great venue for the Christmas Party. My date and I received a welcome greeting just outside the building from the campfire group responsible for the wonderful turkey and pork dishes. It was a mild evening with no rain and great for outdoor cooking.Inside the building everyone (approximately 45 people) were met with festive decorations complete with a model train, loud whistle and Christmas music. The set up crew did a great job of decorating and organizing the buffet and dining tables. I especially enjoyed walking around the back of the train museum which contained an elaborate set of train models running through mountain passes, hills, towns and train stations.

The food and camaraderie was similar to my last outing with the team during the October Fest i.e. very enjoyable. It’s always fun hearing and talking about Jeeping adventures and sharing what’s going on in one’s life!

The best part of the evening was the gift exchange! I have never participated in a white elephant gift exchange quite the way the club does it. When Ellen announced during the last club meeting that it would be a good idea to come with tennis shoes and be prepared for a fast and furious gift exchange she wasn’t kidding. Competition for the best wrapped gift was stiff. Congrats to all those who took the time to be so creative. Instructions given, tickets drawn and the gift exchange was off to a mild start. However after about 5 gifts were opened the crowd lost their bashfulness and the stealing began. I counted as many as 7 people running in different directions stealing from one another before the untimely whistle blew. Let me just say the NRA would have been impressed with how many times one of the gifts was stolen from one another. The Battery Booster, Bass Store gift cards, flash lights, knifes wine glasses and yes Blankets were among the most popular gifts to steel. With all the running around I’m happy to report there were no injuries or heart attacks just one heck of a great party!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. Dick

Esprit de Four Christmas

We first went to meet at the Big Lots on parking lot on Camden in San Jose to meet up for the toys for tots caravan. There were a lot of people there from the club…more than 15 vehicles (most decorated) showed up. We took the slow route through San Jose to get to the drop off for the toy drive. We went to Christmas in the Park in downtown San Jose and delivered our toys to the United States Marines that were collecting them. They gave us a Christmas music CD and a carnation. Later that evening we went to the ED4 Christmas party at the historical Santa Clara train station/museum. We took some time to peruse the model trains that were set up in the back room. They had two scales of trains (HO and N) with some very intricate layouts and scenery. The food was very filling and very good. This was our first year attending the party so we were able to experience the gift exchange for the first time. It is the best gift exchange we’ve ever seen. Some of the presents were very interestingly wrapped for the wrapping contest. The two main contenders were the drunk/peeing snow man and a realistic winter scene on the box top. The winter scene won the competition. Once the exchange began, everyone seemed to fight over the blankets. We took home some nice gifts after numerous switch ups. All in all, it was very fun and very interesting. We got to meet many people from the club that we had never met before and got to know everyone a little bit better. We hope to attend again next year.

Christmas Time


This is my trip report for the Saturday December 13th.

Kathy, grandson Jaden, and myself packed up all of the Pajamas that were gathered and tendered to us for distribution along with toys that we gathered for the Toys For Tots donation. We left our house about 8:55 and headed over to pick up Dede to join us. Mike had to work would not be able to join us. We arrived fashionably Esprit de Four late, at about 9:10am at the Cambrian Plaza shopping center. What a sight! There we found members and friends all involved with conversation and taking pictures of the decorated vehicles. All in all there were 16 vehicles with some decoration on all.

We headed out after a short driver meeting to the County of Santa Clara Children's Shelter. The shelter is only about three blocks away. We were greeted by one of the staff by the name of Mark. Mark was a little taken back at the amount of people and vehicles there for the event. Mark went and had some kids along with some more staff come out and meet us. The kids were quite excited to see Santa Claus and came up and got and gave hugs with Santa. A cart was brought out to the front and bags and bags of PJs were loaded into the cart. The last count that I had was 242 PJs. This was really impressive to me to see that large pile of PJs.

The staff took some of the kids to look at the vehicles while we all went out to the facility sign and posed for some pictures.

The next stop for the day would be the Toy For Tots down at Christmas in the Park, downtown San Jose. As you can imagine, it was a little bit of a challange to keep all 16 vehicles together. We pulled over and waited several times to make sure we were all together. We did our normal circle the whole park before coming in for a landing. What a sight. KBAY came over and asked Santa who we were and where we were from. Esprit De Four did get a little mentioning on the radio station and thanked us for supporting the drive. We all kind of scattered from there to do whatever till the evening.

Some of us went to Fernwood Winery in the Santa Cruz mountains to do a little tasting and buying. We also stopped at Martin Winery, which is very close to Fernwood Winery.

Kathy and I loaded up things once again for the annual ED4 Christmas Party at the Santa Clara Train Depot. This was once again a very special time of meeting with members, families, friends, and future members. Wonderful food, conversation, great intertainment. Santa and his elf Buddy were there. This was a very special appearance for the ED4 group. I hope that Tom is OK from all of the laughing that he did.

I would like to send out a special thanks to my wife, Kathy for the organization of the PJ drive, to Mike for the Toys For Tots drive, to Ellen for the organization of the Christmas party, and a REALLY BIG THANKS to all that made this day so very special to alot of people that are being helped by your generousity.

I also want to wish each and everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, till we meet again happy trails to all.

The Santa Man

Christmas Party

I had a great time at the Christmas Party. Great people, great food, great gift game. Having this event at the train museum is a great idea - who doesn’t like trains? This was a great event to get to know the mbers in a relaxed environment. But, the highlight of the evening has to be the gift “stealing” game. I look forward to the future Christmas parties. - Dennis I can’t wait for the next Christmas gathering :-). The “steal-fest” is sooo much fun that I’m bringing my family so they can participate! I’m also taking this idea to my church group. High praise to a fantastic group! - Ava