sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 5, 2015

advent: day 5
posted by soe 2:35 am

This Sunday is my annual tree-trimming party, which I first threw 19 years ago. Having recently graduated from college myself, I knew first-hand that it was a little sad for my university student employees to have to miss out on family holiday prep, so I invited them over to help me decorate. I no longer work at a college, but the tradition lives on, as does the panic and chaos of inviting a horde of people into my untidy and overcrowded apartment.

Below you’ll find a reprise of my post from last year when I offered my instructions for How to Throw a (Christmas) Party:

1. Set the date of the party sufficiently far in advance. (Mine has been the second Sunday after Thanksgiving since I started throwing them for my college interns and my friends the year after I graduated college myself. Nineteen years is considered sufficient.)

2. Invite guests early enough so that can fit your event into a busy holiday season. If you have essentially reserved a date for yourself for two decades, this can be slightly closer to the event … such as when repeat guests start asking when the invitation is going to arrive.

3. Begin to clean your home. Depending how often this occurs at other times of the year, it may be necessary to place this higher in your timeline. In my case, I ought to have started the day after my last party.

4. Procrastinate. Allow sufficient time for this. Consider starting a large and detailed and difficult-to-relocate project right in your main party space. You work better under a deadline, after all.

5. Clean some more in a haphazard fashion. Preferably stop one project partway through and leave it behind as if Mr. Clean has been swept through your living space by a hurricane.

6. Take a nap. Make some food. You need to keep up your strength after all.

7. Tackle a small part of the paper you ought to recycle the night before the final recycling is picked up before your party. By small, I mean a handful of envelopes. By night before, I mean 4 a.m.

8. Start to hit a frenzy. Of course you’ll get this all done! There’s plenty of time. By that, I mean two days. Almost.

9. Buy party supplies. In my case, this involves a tree, food, drinks, and paper products. Why does this grocery store not carry half the things you want? Are three bags of chips enough? Where, for the love of all things merry, is the vegan eggnog?!

10. Despair. Is it too late to uninvite all the guests 16 hours before the party is due to start? Or maybe just turn out all the lights and pretend not to be home?

11. Prioritize. A clean bathroom and a clean kitchen are important. People are willing to overlook dust, but they like a clean sink; remember, though, you can still lock yourself in the bathroom to do a spot clean after the first guests arrive.

12. Why have you never noticed all the cat fur and cat litter tracked all over the place? Oh, no, wait. You totally have. You just opted to overlook it.

13. Eat chocolate and drink tea. This will keep your mind off the fact that you have not left yourself enough time to sleep.

14. Stop to write a blog post. (Or, even, a whole series of them that you’ve publicly committed to.) Because we all know that helps.

15. Tackle the biggest non-loud projects in the middle of the night. Then you can pretend your tears are from the strain, rather than the knowledge that you will not finish in time.

16. Get some sleep. Two hours is a nice amount for a long day ahead. You wouldn’t want to get groggy.

17. Calculate the time the stores open that sell the things you forgot or couldn’t find. Arrive as they unlock their doors.

18. Give up on prioritizing. Now you are just going to work on moving/hiding/minimizing the mess. Lacking a bedroom door and extensive closet space makes this a challenge.

19. Chuck papers into bags. Make sure you note which bag contains the important/recent papers because inevitably you will need it tomorrow. This stage is not unlike moving apartments, at least for me.

20. Pile everything on your bed.

21. Try to vacuum before your guests arrive. (This will not always happen.)

22. Try to be done cooking before your guests arrive. (This will rarely happen.)

23. Assume that any guest that arrives promptly at the time you’ve said your party begins is interested in helping you clean and cook. Otherwise, why would they be there already?

24. Have an absolutely wonderful time with your guests during your party. These people are your friends and they really don’t care if you forgot to get rid of those cobwebs you just noticed in a dark corner or if they have to eat home-cooked chili out of a chipped bowl … or a (clean) reused takeaway container.

25. After your last guest has left, collapse on your couch and admire your lovely clean party space. Because you’re never going to bed with all that crap on it.

Category: christmas/holiday season. There is/are 4 Comments.