Mid-December, I’ll be hosting my Bunco group’s Christmas party. We always have a great time. We don’t even play Bunco, just skip to everyone’s favorite part – the eating and drinking. The food portion is easy since everyone brings an hors d’oeuvre, but as hostess I’m in charge of the night’s signature cocktail and dessert. I found a recipe for a limoncello cranberry fizz that sounds terrific, and I’m working on a gingerbread trifle idea that I’ll put in tiny little dessert cups and display on a tiered cake stand. Pretty good, huh? I’ll bet you didn’t think I had it in me. Semi-homemade Southern Living done by a transplant from Wisconsin. Who knew?
I have my decorating plan all worked out, too – doilies and white poinsettias, crystal serving pieces, crisp white tablecloths. When my friends come through the front door, I want the fireplace glowing and candles flickering on the end tables. Tony Bennett will be crooning on the stereo, and everything will be lovely. At least that’s my plan.
I’m also excited because my daughter and her family are coming for Christmas! My grandson is 5 now and my granddaughter just turned 1, so I’ve already sent a letter to Santa telling him to leave their presents under the Alabama tree. I’ve bought a stack of color-on placemats and plastic snowmen dishware, a plush snowman family for the coffee table, and Goldfish crackers in red and green. We’re going to have a ball.
The kicker is that my family is due to arrive the day after the Bunco party. Really, within 24 hours, my house will be full twice – two different groups, two different sets of holiday expectations. Poinsettias are poison for toddlers and crystal an accident waiting to happen. Open flames of any kind are dangerous, and you’d have to be a fool to use white tablecloths with red Jell-O.
Now, my Bunco friends are good sports. They’d probably be happy coloring their own placemats, but every once in a while, I like to pretend that I am a functioning grownup. It’s a fantasy, I know, but it’s my fantasy. I want to be Susie Homemaker one day and Grandma the next. I want it all.
So, here’s the plan: I divide my decorations into two piles – grownup and G-rated. I decorate for my Bunco group and hide the kid-friendly items in my bedroom closet.
After my Bunco group feasts and toasts and everyone has headed out the door with their exchanged gifts, I’ll set Harold to washing up the cake plates and martini glasses while I swap candles for stuffed snowmen. I’ll pull chairs in front of the fireplace (I’ll shut it off first) and cover the table with a red no-harm-no-foul cloth. Peppermints will become Goldfish crackers, crystal will become plastic plates. Tony Bennett will give way to Alvin and the Chipmunks, and I’ll pull the chicken nuggets to the front of the freezer. A quick run of the sweeper, and I’ll be ready to celebrate all over again.
It’ll be great, kind of like turning the page in a Christmas décor magazine. And I think it will work out just fine. I mean, if Santa can deliver presents to every child all over the world in one night, I should be able to pull this off, right?
Wait a minute…the poinsettia. Ah! I’ll make it a special Bunco door prize.
And then, I’ll lie down for a long winter’s nap until the next round. Merry Christmas…again.