Thursday, January 31, 2013
Overdue Open House Musings
I stood chopping onions on Christmas Eve for John's and my annual holiday open house. A glass of red wine was close by to make sure the party preparations went faster. True to form, I soon starting tearing up from the onions. Wiping the 'onion' tears away, I smiled as I remembered as a child watching my mother chop onions while laughing and crying from them. She was getting ready for her annual holiday party as well. My family was in our small kitchen preparing for the open house that she and Dad hosted each year. We were all laughing and there was this festive energy in the air. Dad was getting the bar ready, making sure we had Piels beer, a couple jugs of Gallo wine, and just the basics: vodka, gin, and Dewar's Scotch. (A far cry from my bar with 30 plus bottles of various booze. LOL) We kids were just watching our parents get ready, trying to stay out of the way. Soon enough, Adam and I would be ushered downstairs to the family room to be chaperoned by our big sister Sheryl.
Mom hung blue and white lights up as they were holiday-ish and also reflective of the color blue associated with Hanukkah. We were a dual religious household with Mom being Jewish and Dad, Christian, so our decorations reflected both Christmas and Hanukkah. Our small fake tree, about 4 feet tall, was made larger by Dad putting it on a small wood table. Carefully hung were the family ornaments we had all made through the years and then Mom's precious Scandinavian ornaments. Simple and wooden, clean and classical. With just white lights to set them off. She finished off the tree with little red bows strategically placed at the end of each branch. My smile could not be any wider as I presently think about this.
She had her holiday party for several years and it was a well remembered, anticipated event in our circle of friends. I found myself thinking of her as I got ready for my own holiday event this year. Placing pieces of paper on each serving dish to show what would go in where. Wrapping the metal railing with evergreen garland as we had done down the oak banister of our stairs in my childhood home. A simple fresh green wreath hung on the door. These days though, is looks as if Christmas exploded across my home but that's alright. This is John's holiday too and I was just along enjoying the fun festive ride!
Mom's appreciation of Christmas was not overdone but in its own way, very festive. It was simpler, classic, and understated. John and I bring out the Christmas antiques every holiday season and decorate, decorate, decorate. This year I hung a large blue paper snowflake from the entrance hall chandelier which a good friend's young daughter had made me. It looked just like the Jewish Star of David. Just as the guests started to arrive, I looked up at it and thought that Mom would have approved and loved it.
**This blog is dedicated to my friend Patty who was injured coming to my house for the party. May she have a speedy recovery!