Every year around Christmas time, the Doerflingers and friends attend the Miss Universe Party. It has become a family tradition – and we always go all out.
The idea for the party started with my grandparents, Max and Margaret “Sis” (Harney) Doerflinger. My grandparents were living in Santa Monica, California and would always throw parties for the friends, neighbors, and family in the area – since my grandparents were pretty well known, a lot of people would be attending. It was soon decided that they needed a game – something that even the kids could play. The results? Miss Mud Pie.
The idea for the game came from the popularity of the Miss Universe and Miss USA Pageants that were started in 1952 in Long Beach, California.
The rules of the game were simple: Put the names of all attendees into a hat. If your name is pulled out of the hat, you’re out of the game. The last 5 names are to give speeches of what they would do if they were to win Miss Mud Pie. The last name to be drawn will be crowned Miss Mud Pie. My family even created a crown for the winner and a fake microphone to use during the speeches.
For reasons that no one seems to remember, in the 1960s, the name of the
competition game was changed to Miss Universe.
Another game was added to the party: The Gag Gift Name. It begins by everyone bringing a wrapped gag gift. Then everyone draws a number from a hat. Number 1 goes first and gets to choose a gift and unwrap it. We move in numerical order until all the gifts are gone. To make the game more interesting, instead of choosing an unopened gag gift, a player may also choose to “steal” a gift from someone else. A gift may only be stolen twice (having been in the hands of a total of 3 people) before it becomes frozen and cannot be stolen again. This game often gets
really a little competitive – as someone always ends up bringing something absolutely ridiculous or something that people actually want.
Since I was little, we have changed a few things with the Miss Universe Game. Now – everyone gets a paper sash with a name on it – the names vary based on the theme. One year everyone was a different kind of flower. One year we were cuts of meat. One year we were natural disasters. We also require that everyone brings a dollar and the crowned winner of the game gets all the money.
December 18th, 2011 (tomorrow), will be the next Miss Universe party – and I plan on regaining my title back… and getting the cash that goes along with it.