It is one day past Thanksgiving. We have the traditional Day-After-Thanksgiving food hangover. Our refrigerator is now stocked with enough to provide a small Russian army for the rest of a long winter campaign. We are fat and sassy and not too ambitious.
I’d very much like to hibernate for the rest of the weekend, but there is a catch: Christmas. Christmas is looming, its bright green and crimson head is peeking out from behind the pumpkin, grinning at me and saying, “Well? Pick up the pace! I’m practically here!” And you know, I hate to say it, but, well, I’m a little bit behind in my plans.
You see, Art and I are making a trip back east next week, and we don’t plan to be back home until December 13th. Well, that’s a scant twelve days before Christmas. We’ll barely have time to pick out a tree by then – if there are any trees left to be picked out.
I looked at my list yesterday. (The famous one that I check twice and promptly lose before hitting the mall). I thought I was doing so well. Then I realized that I haven’t even picked up Christmas cards yet. On top of that, I had completely forgotten that there is the whole Nashville contingency on my list to be considered. The lights are still in their boxes from last year.
Art and I have never had a Christmas party. This is why. There’s so much to be done just to do “normal” Christmas stuff. (I’m sorry – I keep saying Christmas, and I really should be saying Chanu-Mas or Chris-Chan or something – it all gets wrapped up into one big holiday pudding with us. We make no religious distinctions when it comes to the holidays).
In spite of all that, we had planned a holiday party one year when we were in Tennessee. We had hired the caterer (Indian vegetarian). We had Xeroxed copies of the lyrics to about twenty Christmas carols and had them on top of the piano, ready to go. The house was spic and span. The tree was up. The menorah was in the window. The lights were lit. The music was on the stereo. Then, the night before – at the exact same time – Art and I both came down with the flu. We were both sick as dogs. I had to call my dearest friend and neighbor and beg her to call everyone on the list so that they wouldn’t show up at our door that night. We had to apologize and grovel to the people who were scheduled to cater the party. (They were extraordinarily kind. We were extraordinarily lucky).
We thought about having a holiday party this year. We talked about it for several days. We planned to invite all of our friends and family in the area. Then we realized. What were we thinking? How on earth could we plan an entire party before we leave for Connecticut, and then execute said plans and actually have the party before Christmas? Were we out of our minds?!
Our friend, Judith, suggested having the party in January, after the holidays. She reasoned that January is the letdown month when there is nothing to look forward to. For a minute, I thought that was the perfect solution. Then Art and I talked it over and remembered fondly how relieved we were last year when the holidays were over. The holidays are like a great vacation. You have so much fun anticipating, then you have so much fun being there, and then – you can’t wait to come home. January is the month of coming home. I think we should leave it that way. As for a holiday party – maybe next year.
© 2004, Robin Munson