the Christmas party

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i cannot even believe it is only 10 days ’til Christmas, y’all! i thought i had everything under control. now i’m not so sure. but aside from that minor detail of oh, you know, presents, i have hit all my major milestones, including the infamous Woodward Holiday Open House. this party is so legendary, i had people asking me in September if it was happening again this year. until November that was very much up for debate. after a solid 3 year run, we took a 2 year hiatus. that last year was my 40th birthday and Spy flew my girlfriends in for the weekend. i think it was all just too much for him. he hates everything about the party prep anyway — the guest list, the menu, the cleaning, the shopping. but he always has a good time once the guests start arriving and the cocktails start flowing. always. knowing this, i used my many charms to convince him to let me do it.

this year’s was no different from years past, save for the fact that i was a little rusty as a hostess and didn’t pull my spread together quite as seamlessly as i used to (who forgets to light the candles in the centerpiece on the dessert table or put the lemons and limes out on the bar — for the entire party?). we had about 75 people — 1,000 of them children — come through over the course of 4 hours. this year, they ate more and drank less, which was weird, but at least it means my liquor cabinet and wine fridge will be well stocked when Snowpocalypse (the Sequel) rolls through sometime in January.

but what was different was how i felt about it afterward. for the first year, ever, i actually thought there is no way in hell we are doing this party again next year. today, Spy is actually already looking forward to next year and i’m the one hedging. but he says people expect it now, so we have to. i’m hoping that’s just the morning-afterness of the Scotch talking. but just in case i get talked into doing this again, i want to document a few observations/tips for next year that might be helpful if you are considering throwing a holiday party in the next 10 days. or ever. party on, y’all!

  1. there are never enough meatballs. whether you buy 4 bags or 14, they will all be eaten. always.
  2. nobody cares if your bar has no citrus. see above. WTF? not one single person needed a lime wedge enough to ask me for 4 whole hours? who are these people?
  3. don’t put placeholder names in the invites spreadsheet. if you forget someone’s husband’s name, just call them the ___ Family. no fail, the placeholder will get exported and you’ll invite Linda & Boring Dude instead of Linda & James.
  4. always get a sitter. ours was a complete lifesaver. not that there weren’t still kids running through our house like maniacs, but at least she kept them out of my hair for the most part, so i could focus on refilling my wine glass serving trays.
  5. people who say they’re coming won’t. it’s just a fact of life, so don’t be mad when they don’t even text you to let you know. those people suck, but hey, it’s the holidays, give ’em a break and try and get together in January.
  6. you won’t get enough time with anyone. hosting a holiday party is like attending your own wedding reception. you’ll make small talk with everyone for 2 seconds and not actually have a real conversation that you’ll remember with anyone.
  7. tv isn’t a party killer. because we’re not those jerks who schedule a Sunday afternoon party and don’t put the game on, we put the game on. it was the subject of some attention, but by no means did we lose half the crowd to it.
  8. nobody cares about your music. seriously. i was so worried about the party playlist that skillfully mixed just the right number of holiday songs with regular music. after 20 people were here, you couldn’t even hear it anyway.
  9. nap before you clean up. okay, so i might have fallen asleep in Miss Girl’s bed when i went to put her down. when i woke up at 2 a.m. i was disappointed that Spy wasn’t still up, but had the best time over the next 3 hours cleaning, listening to music, dancing with Parker and eliminating some of that pesky left over wine. ahem. it was the most painless party clean-up ever!
  10. you will do it again. because it’s fun. and it makes you feel good. and you love sharing your home with your friends. and you love feeling popular. and it will give you and your husband total comedic fodder for the next 12 months for one of you to have to pretend to convince the other one to do it while the other pretends to need convincing.
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