Saturday, December 10, 2011

My almost-always annual no-tree tree trimming party

Tonight was my tree trimming party, a party I've been giving in one form or another since 1965. I do it because I always thought trimming the tree should be festive and fun, and it wasn't when I was a kid. Nowdays I don't have a tree--never home at Christmas, etc., though I sometimes think I'll get a small table tree and a couple of years I've had really small trees that fit on the coffee table. I've been giving this party since 1965--sometimes a Sunday night, one year desserts only, sometimes at 8:00, tonight at 5:30 so people who had other plans could move on. I like the way that worked and may do it again.
Every fall, about October, I debate whethr or not to have the party, and a howl goes up from some of my friends because that's the only time they see each other. I always end  up having fun at my own party, getting lots of hugs. Many of these people are ones I don't see often, others are part of my daily life. These days, there's a big contingent of family--some direct relations, some by marriage--and there are lots of kids. My brother brings his side of the family which has grown larger than mine, since most of my kids are not close enough to come for an evening. Jordan is a whiz at planning the kids part of the party--pigs in a blanket, pretzels, chips, ranch dip, carrots, and Christmas trees to color. I don't know if any kids ever did color them tonight, but they all seemed to have a good time. The kids were all my grandnieces and grandnephews, one grandson, and two distantly related  by marriaige.
For the adults I served my traditional cheeseball, the one my mom made, liver pate, a caviar spread, cheese with curry that you top with chutney, a cheese ring topped with strawberry jam, veggies and a Caesar dip, persimmon bread, a reuben dip (always disappears).
After the food was put up and the dishes done--I hired a "party angel," a lovely woman who did a great job--I got to thinking about the business of giving a party. It's an expense for my limited budget, no doubt about it, and it's a lot of work, because there's the house to decorate, even with no tree, and I make all the dips and spreads myself and serve wine and soft drinks--no mixed drinks, no beer. Tonight folks drank a case of white wine and almost a case of red. But to me, in some strange convoluted thinking, giving this party is part of staying  young and not growing old, not saying "I can't do the party this year. I'm too old and don't have the energy." That day may come, but I hope not soon.  
As I say every year, in the afterglow of the paty, I'm doing this next year and I begin planning. There just so many people I wish I could invite and don't have room  for because of all those regulars. Hmmmm--next year, caviar dip, liver pate, cheeseball, and some surprises. And Jordan wants those meatballs that are really sausage, cheese, and Bisquick. Okay, not gourmet but good.                                                     

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