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The 3rd Annual Boston Children’s Holiday Hour(s) – Part 1

Despite all outward appearances to the contrary, I lead a largely quiet and calm life. Whatever anyone else makes of my social media shenanigans and website outrageousness, however outlandish my outfits or accessories may get, my day-to-day existence is a rather peaceful one. (That’s the beauty of an outlet like this – I save all the drama for this space and work it out through words and self-analysis, so the rest of my life can sail by relatively uneventfully.)

For my possibly-annual Boston Children’s Holiday Hour, however, I suspend that quiet life for an afternoon of holiday mayhem and celebration and invite the growing cadre of children in my friends’ orbit over for hot chocolate and revelry. Their parents are in tow, so we offer grown-up libations for them, and then before I reach the end of my fraying rope of sanity, we order dinner in, appease the hangry bellies, and send everyone off in more-or-less satiated form. Mostly, though, it nourishes my faith in humanity. My friends are raising some amazing children, and it’s a wonderful thing to watch them interact at this time of the year.

To pull it off, however, requires some planning and preparation – my two favorite things. I did not have to do it alone, thankfully, as Kira stayed around for the whole thing, starting with some preparation the night before, in the form of this holiday libation. Things just run smoother when gin is involved.

The first task, one I had executed a couple of weeks ago, was to find a gift for each child. This is not really a big deal, and I stumbled inadvertently upon a hot-ticket item for kids, or so I’ve been told: magic sequins. I’ve been wearing sequins for years, so I’m not sure why they’re suddenly all the rage, but hey, anytime the drag queens can reach a youthful audience it’s a good thing. (They would also match my shoes for the evening so it worked on every level.)

Then there were the crafts/toys that needed to be on hand to occupy their time while the adults mingled over mulled wine and other things. A holiday hedgehog kit works wonders for such a task (though I warn any novice child-herders to make note of the fine print – you’re going to need glue, glue sticks, scissors, markers, string, a strand of magic beans, and some other nonsense to make full use of the not-so-all-inclusive $20 ‘kit’ – most of which an adult condo in Boston is lacking). I also procured a dozen holiday gift ‘crackers’ – the kind you pull apart to release a plastic piece of crap (a yo-yo or protractor or tissue-paper crown for example).

Finishing the scene were the ingredients and accoutrements for the libations. Citrus, spices, and cinnamon sticks for the mulled wine; chocolate mix, mini-marshmallows and chocolate spoons for the hot chocolate.

Kira and I went to bed watching Lidia Bastianich make a plum gnocchi dish, then fell asleep to the first part of ‘Love Actually’.

The next day we finished up our Christmas shopping and took the T to Chinatown for a bowl of pho before the festivities. As we sat there sipping our soup and stirring in the sriracha sauce, I remarked that we needed to enjoy the calm before the storm. In a few hours there would be kids and sugar, and the riotous excitement that the season brings. I also said we may end up looking back at that moment and realizing it was one of the best of the weekend. She laughed it all off. Having raised two girls of her own, she was looking forward to witnessing Uncle Alan woefully out of his element. We finished our soup and hurried out.

The children were coming…

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