Well, kinda. I’m an introvert. So, going to a big party at a strange place with a mixture of people isn’t my thing at all. But, hosting a small intimate party at my house where I get to plan, cook, and decorate. Where I control the guest list, and I know the people coming intimately and we can just sit around the table and break bread together- totally my thing. It energizes me in a way few other things do. But, over the last couple years we just haven’t had many parties at the house. The kids were at a weird stage where they demanded so much of my time and I couldn’t really prepare the way I want to prepare for taking care of them. And, having Gran here adds a whole other level of chaos to things. She hates the noise and people in the house. But, I needed this Christmas party and I was going to do it if it killed all of us. So, we arranged for Gran to stay at Belvedere and we started planning.
That’s key number one for me. A well executed plan. Lists, lists, and more lists. For this party I made a list of what to cook, when to cook it, and what I would be serving it in. I had this list made over a week ahead of time. I made a grocery list a week ahead and shopped 2 days before. I minimize stress by exerting control. The day before the party, I set out all the dishes and put labels in them to remind myself what to plop down where.
And then, on party day, I cook and serve. I wish I had remembered to take pictures of everything, but I of course forgot because that wasn’t on my list. All of the dishes were from the December or Christmas special edition Southern Living magazine.
I also did a couple “Plain and Traditional” dishes for the kids. I’d say the Crumb topped Spinach Casserole was the surprise delight. I wasn’t expecting much, but it was delicious. Jeff did the smoked turkey breast for me- they were absolutely amazing. We’ve been eating on the leftovers all week. The kids loved the Fondue and Smores bar with Christmas shaped marshmallows.
This party was for my work team. As many of you know one of the ways I decided to pair down my life was to merge my brokerage with another company. So, I had my principal broker, my personal business partner, and all of my mentees over. They brought their spouses and children. It was important to me to have the entire family with them. The reason I chose to switch to a real estate career was the freedom and flexibility it afforded my family. So, it didn’t make sense to have a party celebrating my career without including the reason I am in it in the first place. I gave each of my guests a book. My mentees got a book encouraging them success in their new career. My broker and partner got “Present Over Perfect”. It’s been a great book for me this year to focus on less and encourage toward depth. Each of the kids got little gifts as well.
Super fun night for me. And, then, when everyone left, my hubby helped clean all these dishes. A successful night: good food, good friends, and the house is clean and everyone in bed by 10:30.
That was Sunday. On Wednesday, we had 3 more parties… Each kid had their Christmas party at school. I was in charge of Lexi Kate’s. When she was in kindergarten, I did cute decorations, themed food, and decorated water and juice bottles. Now, they are in fourth grade and don’t care much about all the fluff. So, I spent my money on Chick Fil A for the class. They were way more impressed with that. We also made ornaments commemorating their graduation from Moore Elementary. I took a silly picture and a serious picture of each kid. Then, we had a “decoration buffet” for them to add different sparkly things including “2017 confetti”.
And, because I am a glutton for punishment, I also scheduled Sam’s “friends” birthday party after school. This party is a distraction from his real birthday celebration. But, I wanted to let him have some time to celebrate life with his friends. Sam is easy to do parties for. He cares little about intricate details. He just asked for a dinosaur themed cookie cake and plates, and to play at Goofballs. Easy peasy. The most important part for me in celebrating Sam’s birthday is to not let it got lost in Christmas. A man in Target asked me why I thought it was a good idea to have a baby on December 26. Seriously dude, you think I planned on being miserable pregnant through the holidays? No, my mom offered to keep Lexi Kate one weekend so Jeff and I could rest and things just happened. Calendar planning never came into it. But, I wouldn’t trade my little Christmas baby for every present under a tree.
And, now we are on to celebrating Christmas.