Alrighty then. This is going to be MUCH different from years past, because I was so completely unorganized this year – I know, no difference there – and the party really didn’t come off very smoothly. Let’s discuss, shall we?
This is my stepmother, Ann. She will forever be known as my absolute savior and true hero. I protested this whole party from the beginning. Not only did we book a cruise at the last minute and spend a week between Florida and the Caribbean, I also spent those 5 days in Florida for my moms panel training. There was barely time to do the Christmas shopping, let alone the decorating, cooking, and cleaning it was going to take to get the house ready for company.
My stepmother, ON HER DAY OFF, came over and helped me clean the house. She scrubbed both bathrooms, top to bottom, and left with them sparkling and smelling clean. All I had to do was throw fresh linens in there and we were good to go. Then on the day of the party, with me falling behind on everything, she showed up early and not only finished running the sweeper downstairs, she also swept the floors, and helped get everything out and ready.
Were it not for Ann, our guests would have been sitting in dust and clutter, and starving to boot. I had even enlisted two of Brighid’s friends to help. They tried. But they are teenage girls. Nuff said.
This year, the menu is determined mostly by my mother – who is not even coming to the party! She won a tailgate party for 30 people from the local grocery store, and because you have to use the food before Christmas, she gifted us with the party food! Not exactly a holiday menu, but we don’t have to cook some of the stuff, so it’s good. We had a six foot Italian hoagie, crab bites, hot wings, sodas, chips, potato salad, and a HUGE sheet cake.
I figured since the menu was simple, the old standbys would be good. We cooked sausage and meatballs, a roast turkey with stuffing (Ann’s recipe – she really had a huge impact on this party – did I mention that yet?), and kielbasa and sauerkraut. I had all the typical snacks – chips and dips; cheese and pepperoni; shrimp; and a pickle and olive tray.
Desserts I went lighter on due to the enormous sheet cake we had coming in, but still put out a couple of cookie trays, a pumpkin pie, and some cheesecake bites. We added to that a small sheetcake that Harry and his family brought, and some delicious chrusciki that Aunt Barbara made (using Grandmom Holak’s recipe).
What went? Turkey was a favorite this year, and we used about 3 feet of the 6 foot hoagie. We had nearly a whole crockpot of meatballs and sausage left over, which is rare. I had almost no stuffing left, and half of the chicken wings were eaten – spicy though they were.
We went through about half of the sheet cake – but some of that was gifted to people as they left. Most of the cookies are gone, and the cheesecakes got thrown away. There was just a bite or two of pie left.
The plan for next year? RUN! This is so hard to do year after year, and Jim wants the big party without participating in the work and preparation for a big party. As part of my stay at home mom gig, there is some assumption that I am equipped to handle this type of thing. Nope. I fell behind in the house cleaning as it was with two vacations right before the holidays, and had mountains of laundry to do. Granted, Jim washed most of it, but nothing got folded. Then when you add to the race I was already losing the fact that decorations had to be put up, two Christmas trees decorated, and this party to throw, it’s a lot and it’s overwhelming. I am going to have to seriously plan out next year’s event if we’re going to have it again – beginning with cooking things in advance weeks before. And next year, in the absence of his assistance, he’s going to have to hire people. This is way too much work for me, and Brighid and her friends will be off at college. If I were a betting woman, I would bet the only way this party is happening is with a good caterer and cleaning crew.