The Day of the Holiday Party

This year marks the tenth holiday party that Andy and I are giving. There is no theme (mostly because I was too lazy), and no new outfit (I’m planning on wearing what I wore at that very first party back in 2000 – though I’ll need a new pair of jeans because the originals no longer fit. I’d insert a parenthetical frown here if I used such nonsense.) At this point, our parties run on autopilot, and there are very few surprises left. Give the guests a warm house, plenty of booze, and something to nibble on – and boom, it’s done. Personally I like to throw on something a little more special than your average cocktail dress, but that’s optional. There’s nothing left to prove.

Of course, I had thrown parties long before I knew Andy, and I still fondly recall a few insane events at the Boston condo, where 50 people were somehow crammed into two rooms, hanging out in the closet, pouring onto the fire escape, and making enough noise to warrant regular visits from the police (who were always nice about it, joking that I must not have remembered to include the neighbors who had complained).

Those parties were raw, wild affairs – filled with cocktails, but light on food – in fact, if people wanted to eat I usually asked one of the guests to whip something up (thank you to Simon for some amazing stuffed mushrooms). And yes, I consider jello shots a form of solid food.

They were mostly casual events, if hyped-up to high heaven as not-to-be-missed milestones. Mainly, I just liked to see people having a good time. As host, I learned early on that it would be impossible to have any real meaningful conversations with anyone at these parties, which killed me at first, but once I let that go it became a simple night of frivolity and fun, light on the serious talk and heavy on the laughter.

Guests often take their cue from the host (though if that were really the case then I wonder where all the passed-out people were at The Arabian Night Party of 2002…) so if the host is having fun the guests will usually follow.

My one secret to throwing a party is Rosalind Russell. In the hours leading up to the event, I try to do something to calm my nerves and remind myself that it’s just a party. I don’t have the means or desire to get a spa treatment or massage, so I substitute a showing of Auntie Mame. If the opening party scene doesn’t put you in the mood for a good time, nothing will. Remember, life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!

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