Here we are again. Christmas is in two weeks, two weeks that are galloping toward me with alarming swiftness, as they always do. Once again, I promised myself I would plan ahead, start early. But start what early? To be honest, I’m tired of shopping. I’d rather save than spend money. I’d rather travel than purchase things. I tried. Two months ago, I floated the idea of going to Ghana for Christmas. Of course, that would be expensive, but I thought maybe we should do it anyway.
My kids poopooed the idea immediately. It was a flat no. Though I’m not sure why.
So, we’re home. And that’s okay.
I didn’t want to buy a tree. The whole tradition of chopping down a tree and sticking it in a container of water for two weeks, then throwing it away, feels outdated and harmful, irresponsible. But, as the days crept forward, getting a tree seemed inevitable.
I chose to have a Christmas party. I felt I couldn’t have a party without a tree. A live tree in a container would be so heavy, and I had no room in my garden to plant it afterwards. My daughter said we could take it to the hills and plant it anywhere. But a potted tree also wouldn’t hold all the ornaments from my childhood and my children’s childhoods. It wouldn’t look grand and imposing and glorious and exciting in the corner. It would be have to be propped up on a stool of some kind. It would be mini.
I didn’t want that. Not for my party.
A Christmas party is a big responsibility. People come hoping to feel something magical. I hope very much to be able to give that feeling to them, even if only a smidge of it. Children especially.
I remember a party I attended as a very young child. It was at Mary Elizabeth Templeton’s house, or mansion, I should say. There was a gigantic, marble-floored foyer with a tree that in my memory was about three stories tall. There was a Santa. There was a feeling of white light and glitter and warmth and spicy smells and pure excitement. I remember.
I can’t pull that off exactly, but I can provide some facsimile thereof. And I will do my best. I will cook something marvelous. Last year, it was cassoulet, and it turned out really well. And I made an absolute ton of it. I had a buche de noel. The house smelled good. A fire glowed in the fireplace. The tree sparkled in the corner.
I don’t know what I will make yet, this year, but I do know I want this party to be more… bachanal. I won’t succeed. It’s not the right crowd. But I want to at least make the idea of bachanal cross people’s thoughts, even if they’re barely aware of it.
We’re all getting older. I want my party to stir people. To make them feel sexy and warm, attractive. I want people to feel compelled to flirt. I remember a new year’s eve party I threw with my friend Annette one year. The entire night, a couple I barely knew occupied and made out on the couch at the front of the living room. For hours.
It was crazy, obnoxious, bizarre, and… wonderful. It gave a sexy, lascivious glint to my party that I liked.
I’m not sure how I will do it yet, and I may not succeed. But I’m going to pick the sexiest Christmas music I can find. Make the best food I can and plenty of it. Turn the lights down and scatter candles everywhere. String plentiful fragrant evergreen garlands up. Greet everyone warmly and do a better job introducing people to those they don’t know.
I’m going to wear something sensuous but comfortable. Something irresistible to the touch. Something soft, some sparkles. Comfortable but pretty shoes. Or no shoes. Maybe that’s best for a bachanal. Maybe a toga. !
And then, the party will pass, guests will leave, and Christmas will be a mere few days way. All I want for Christmas this year is to serve my friends and neighbors, hike with my kids, and stay calm. Super calm.