The Christmas Party

I hope you all had warm and wonderful Christmas celebrations.  Amoeba and I were busy on Christmas Eve with both church services.  Amoeba played his horns and sang (Praise Band for the first service, choir for the second).  I ran the new audio-visual set up for the second service.  Man that tech is sweet!  I wanna get me that!  It was all Mac — a 28 inch monitor, a blue tooth key board and the most responsive little mouse ever.

Above the fireplace I hung a swag of garland and decorated it with large red jingle bells.

Christmas Day we slept in, then had a lovely bacon and egg breakfast — treats not often on our menu.  Then we lazed around.  Amoeba watched some sports on TV.  I read a novel in front of the fire.  Later we had a nice meatloaf dinner with cheesy mashed potatoes, then we (mostly Amoeba, I read for awhile more, too) worked on the Christmas Tree puzzle until bed time.  It was quiet and pieceful (pun intended).

Here is our coffee table, decorated for the occasion. This table is the most recent item added to our decor. I bought it at the second hand store the afternoon before the party. I have been searching for months for the perfect table, and here it is. Mona (she of the coffee shop) ordered me to go to the second-hand store. I told her I didn't have time. She said, "Howard has new stuff, and believe me, you have to see it." I wasn't going to go. Mona told me if it was still there after the party and I saw it, I would be furious for not having gotten it sooner -- but she wouldn't tell me what IT was. I stomped over to the shop ... and promptly told Howard to wrap it up and toss it in my car! Mona has been helping me table shop and she knew this was exactly what I wanted.

But what you really want to hear about was our Christmas party.  We were pleased with the turn out.  Judging by the compliments still coming in, our guests were quite pleased with it, too.  I have had several of the women say I made the party look easy.  Of course, I did a lot of the prep work the day before — and for the party itself I recruited a couple of friends to help get everything sat out so when the guests arrived we could look relaxed and serene.

These packages above the entry closet got a lot of attention and compliments. One of Amoeba's colleagues wanted to know if I had to put the presents up there to keep Amoeba from peeking. Everyone was saddened to hear they are just pretty, empty boxes. The bag is full though -- it has a 3-Pack of Kleenex in it! I couldn't make it stand up without adding weight.

I set up the buffet table with hot plates and crock pots so it was self-monitoring. I had 8 pounds of meatballs (store bought but simmering in my own, homemade marinara) and 5 pounds of chicken wings, 50 bacon wrapped crab balls (made with imitation crab since I didn’t have medical records on all of my guests), both potato and mac salad, Summer sausage, assorted cheeses, veggies, dips, and crackers, hot cider, coffee and tea (hot & iced) and one guest brought sparkling cider. There were peanuts, pretzels, Chex Mix, olives, sweet & dill pickles, assorted cookies … a small mountain of food. I kept worrying about what we’d do with the leftovers, but there weren’t enough leftovers to worry about!

Pine garland, lights, and ornaments on top of the 3/4 wall surrounding my kitchen.

I figured the approximate number of guests by counting plates — I bought 96 and had 48 left. Five or six of the guests didn’t eat because they were just coming from or heading to meals. Our next-door neighbor came but she didn’t eat, either. It was her son’s 18th birthday and they were having their own big bash. And, of course, a few people could have used more than one plate. We estimate 50-60 people came through the house in about 4 hours. I wish I had thought to have a guest book!

Pine garland, lights and ornaments viewed from the living room side.

We had a basket with brand new activity books, crayons, and pencils for the kids.  There were also a couple of stuffed animals and an Etch-A-Sketch.  I don’t think a kid ever got to touch the Etch-A-Sketch, but it was a sure hit with the adults.

The Pine Garland viewed from the hall.

We also set the card table up, covered it with a red plastic table cloth and put a 1000 piece border-less puzzle out.   Several of the guests worked on it.  And we gave impromptu tours of the house.  Of course the kitchen and the master bath were the two favorite features.  I had several people ask if we needed house-sitters when we travel.  They were all female and eying the bathtub when they asked.

Three of our guests, Rosalie, Allison, and John, working on the puzzle.

We even had a bit of music.  Jim brought out his guitar and harmonica.  Amoeba got his horn.  They played together and Jim  even sang a couple of tunes.  According to the comments we received, a good time was had by all.

Jim and Amoeba making good music.

This is a horrid photo of Jim. My apologies. Some of you might remember him from another party post here.  He wasn’t quite as Christmas “clean-cut” then.

The White Elephant Exchange

I made cookies today and put up the remaining decorations.  This evening Amoeba and I attended the Lab Christmas potluck.  It was fun.  There was a white elephant gift exchange.  We took a very nice bottle of wine and a gift pack of Jones’s Bacon Flavored Soda.  Both of our items saw very lively competition.  Believe it or not, people wanted the Bacon Flavored Soda — and I am kind of sad we gave it away, but without OJM and Jeff, who was I going to get to drink it with me anyway?

I came home with a cheesy Christmas coffee mug.  Amoeba got a birthday paddle — one is supposed to write the birth dates of their family members on it, and hang it as a decoration — and probably a standing birthday joke.  I know why it was passed on.  We now have a gift for our next White Elephant party.

Before I got the coffee mug I had a great hardback book of some of The Globe’s greatest headlines.  I stole it from a friend, and his friend stole it from me.  Amoeba got a giant ink pen.  When he unwrapped it he turned to me and said, “Look honey!  I bet I won’t loose this one.”  And then the kid who drew next came up and took it.  I looked at Amoeba and said, “You told me you couldn’t lose that one.”  That got a laugh from from the crowd.

It was good fun and good food — potluck.  We sat with interesting people and enjoyed watching folks fight over our wine and the soda pop. Too bad I spoiled the evening by walking out into the parking lot and falling flat on my face.   In the dark I didn’t realize that the new blacktop is about a half inch higher then the curb, and that was just enough to catch my new tennis shoe on.  In an older, softer pair of shoes I might have been able to save myself.

My little finger is scraped up.  My left knee is a bit swollen and will likely turn black and blue.  Those things were minor and caused me very little distress.  I was wearing a brand new pair of jeans and all I wanted was back into the light so I could see if I’d ripped the knee.  I hadn’t.  Phew!

Tomorrow I have to precook everything I can; get the potato salad made and the eggs deviled; clean the bathrooms and vacuum the house.  I’ll check my email from time to time, but I don’t know that I’ll have much time to blog until after the party Sunday evening.  Don’t forget to turn ion your guesses on my Bling Fling giveaway tomorrow!

I’ll be back as soon as I can.