For someone who has never really been comfortable entertaining, I have really been doing a lot of it lately…4 holiday parties in less than 2 weeks…go ahead, call me crazy. I deserve it.
I have already written about my December birthday party. A few days after that party, I hosted the holiday get together for the newspaper. I didn’t get any pics because I really didn’t have anything outstanding in the tablescaping/decorating genre to photograph…not to mention that I was just way too busy to even think about picking up the camera. I did get an updated pic of my mantel that my daughter-in-law decorated after I put the stockings up. For the newspaper party, we all decided on snack foods, bringing kids, no gifts or games, just food and fellowship. I was a little nervous about the kid part simply because I am an empty-nester and really don’t have a fun house for kids. I did tell one of the dads that we have a Roku on the tv in the bedroom and would be happy to put a movie on for them. We had 19 people, and my house is not large. The night before the party, David and I moved the sofa table and the end table out of the living room and put as many straight chairs as we could in every nook and cranny of the living room. We ended up having plenty of seating for the adults and teens, and the kids just ran in and out all night anyway. The 4 youngest children, ranging in age from 3 to about 8, piled up on our bed after they ate and started watching Frosty. The next 2, ages 10 and 12, floated between the movie and living room with the adults. At some point, all 6 of them started running down the hallway and out the door. It was cold outside, but not too cold to play. We could hear them outside and we would watch out the glass door. We would see all of them run down the driveway. A few seconds later, they would all run back up the driveway. Then they would run inside, circle the food table again, and run back to the bedroom. This routine was repeated many times throughout the night. All of us adults really enjoyed watching them. Finally, they seemed to wind down and made it back to the bedroom to watch another movie. When all of us adults wound down a little later on, moms and grandmoms headed back to our room to collect their kids. One little boy didn’t want to leave; he wanted to spend the night. That made this old woman feel good and so glad that the kids had a good time in this old boring empty nest house! Of course, as my husband says, kids will have a good time wherever they go. Last year was my first year to host our family Christmas party. I wanted to set my kitchen and dining room up a little differently than last year. This year I put the appetizers on the occasional table by our front window. Do you remember that last year I could not find Christmas appetizer plates? I ended up buying one set of 4 in a holiday mouse design and one set of 4 in a colorful design and filled in the other 2 places with salad plates. Well, last summer I found a set of five appetizer plates in three different holiday designs. I got these at a local flea market (not mine) for $2. Yep, you read that right…$2. So I now have 9 appetizer plates in holiday designs and I filled in the tenth spot with one of the colorful medallion appetizer plates. I am thrilled to have had all appetizer plates and will continue to look for more holiday ones as I go to flea markets and sales. I know…it doesn’t matter to anyone but me if I have to fill in with salad plates. But who can explain how a tablescaper thinks? I sure can’t! Last year I served sparkling cider on the Hoosier, but this year I decided to showcase the nativity set there. I served the sparkling cider from the hutch this time. We enjoyed sharing about our years and visiting over cider and appetizers. We used one of our tables that we will eventually work on for the booth in the kitchen. Because we have not redone it yet, I had to use the tablecloth on this table. I also used my poinsettia table runner. I liked using these in the kitchen because I used them in the dining room last year, and I wanted to make things look a little different and not the same as last year. Of course, the best difference at this table was the new Wal Mart china! I chose it for the “children’s table, (my parents’ grown grandchildren with spouses)” as well as my gold chargers, brass napkin rings, Grosvenor silver, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond napkins. I tried several glasses, and David and I both decided that the green ones looked the best with these plates. Salt and pepper shakers still serve as place card holders…I know, big surprise, right? Since I used the tablecloth on the kitchen table, I chose white placemats and the Lenox Joys of Christmas china for the dining table. However, I only had 4 green napkins. The solution? I alternated red and green napkins around the table. It didn’t look too bad, and I liked how unexpected it was. I used my red goblets on this table. I did not do an elaborate centerpiece since I wanted us to just converse and relax. A white bowl with sparkly ornaments and a couple of candles were all I needed. Of course, I had to use some salt and pepper shakers as well. You probably remember that I tried to set the food at different places to make the “traffic flow” a little better. This year I moved the small table in the kitchen in front of the ironing board for the salad station. This brings me to my next question… Have I ever even showed you this bowl? I don’t think I have. I got it back in the summer at the same flea market where I got the appetizer plates. Did you notice that it matches my long-discontinued Laurie Gates Christmas topiary pattern? How lucky is that!? It does have a crack in the pedestal that is almost unnoticeable because it blends in with the pattern so well. I almost didn’t buy it, but I kept thinking that I would never find this bowl again! The crack does make it sit a little wobbly, but I don’t really care since I will only use it a few times a year. I love it! I put the drinks on one of the kitchen counters instead of the laundry room, like last year. I made tags again, not because people can’t figure it out, but because I just wanted to. This year our theme for gift giving was red and green. We had a great time with our gift exchange, passing things around the circle as quickly as we could. After our gift exchange, we adjourned for dessert. I originally planned to serve it at the laundry room counter, but decided at the last minute to set it out on the dining room table. I thought that it would flow better that way, and it did. We all brought pet food to be donated to pet shelters and/or rescues this year…trying once again to do something a little different from the canned goods we donated last year. We all had a nice visit and enjoyed catching up and visiting with each other…most of us only see each other a couple of times a year, if that, so we have a lot to catch up on. The next day brought our last party for the season, a family get-together with my husband’s side of the family. Not everyone could make it, so we only had 8 at our table. I moved the white cloth and poinsettia runner back to the dining table and took down the other table in the kitchen…very nice to get it out of the way and back to the smaller table. Because we only had 8 people, I had enough red napkins for each place setting. However, I only have 6 of the large red goblets. The solution? I alternated them with the holly goblets from Dollar Tree. Alternation seems to be my theme this Christmas! The salt and pepper shakers, Grosvenor silver, and candles round out the table. We were a little squished around the table, but no one really seemed to mind too much. Good thing we all like each other! I served the meat and the drinks from the kitchen counter. I put the salads and side dishes on the buffet. The desserts went on the kitchen table. I thought I had taken pics of them, but it looks like I forgot. Sometimes I wonder where my brain is! We had a wonderful afternoon of visiting and eating. I’ll try to write a little more about my 2 weeks of holiday parties, but my post is long and my time is short. Hope all of you have wonderful holiday parties as well!