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Everyday Adventures

Ahhh, soon the holiday season will be upon us and I really am looking forward to them. For some the ‘holidays’ don’t really start until Thanksgiving week. Me, I prefer to have them start at Halloween, as it is becoming more and more one of my favorite holidays.

One thing about holidays that I truly love is parties! Both attending and giving. I simply adore having a room full of people all happy and laughing, enjoying their food and drinks, it’s just one of the best feelings I know. Unfortunately, entertaining in such a small space makes throwing the large shindigs that I love a little more difficult.

For my birthday party I invited everyone I could think of and just figured we’d figure out space as best we could. Very much the image of the party in Breakfast at Tiffany’s running through my mind. I think somewhere between 15 and 20 people came, and it was pretty much all that could comfortably fit. And I use the term comfortably very loosely.

So now when I think about throwing a party, I realize that sometimes I’m just going to have to be more selective about the guest list. I need to watch how many people are coming, and make sure the ‘mix’ is right.

In my mind, duties of a hostess include:

  • providing a warm, inviting atmosphere for guests
  • inviting people who will mix together well without drama
  • serving ample food and drink for the scope of the party
  • planning suitable games or pasttimes complicit to the party’s theme

Vis a Vis, the duties of a guest would be:

  • making the intention of attendance known to the hostess
  • being pleasant and cordial for the duration of the party
  • avoiding drama with the other guests (not always the same as the above)
  • not expecting (unless one is actually the guest of honor) to be the center of attention and instead sharing the limelight equally

I truly long for the days where party ettiquette was instilled from childhood, accepted forms and courtesies followed, and all of that idyllic 50s stuff that I was born way too late for. Ahh, false nostalgia, isn’t it grand?

There are still places where old customs are cherished, though it’s usually for ill rather than good. Southern High Society still very much lives in that world, Mardis Gras being a notable example. Oh, not the drunken revelry in the French Quarter that the masses flock to, I’m talking about the Crewe Society and the Balls and festivities that the locals participate in and worship.

A fictional (but highly plausible) example exists in the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  The main character is known for this one party a year where only x number of invitations are sent. Everyone who is anyone–and some who are not–wait expectantly for those invitations each year and it is somewhat of an honor (though dubious in certain cases) to receive that engraved slip of paper. Sure, some miss certain years due to certain indiscretions or slights to the host over the past 12 months, but I recall the host having a sardonic sense of humor about being able to pick and choose among the cream of society each year.

While I would never hope to weild such power for petty slights, the highlight for any hostess is to have such invitations be coveted. Until then, I shall keep throwing my small gatherings, mixing up the groups and themes and so forth. Happy holiday everyone!

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