All I really know is we have water and it is not hot.......
now on to more important things...one thing I do know about is how to give a good Christmas party..................
For 22 years in Carnation, we had a Christmas Party on the Friday before Christmas. We spent days and days in preparation.....shopping, making invitations, making decorations, decorating, cleaning, cooking.............the list goes on and on....................several years we had about 65 to 75 adults and about 30 to 40 kids. Other years there were less people. It was always great, great fun!
In recent years some of the younger kids who used to come years ago, were returning to the party as adults. They said they always had fond memories of 'The Christmas Party'.
Some of the preparation actually begins with our family trip to the Mt Baker/Snoqualmie Forest for the 16 1/2 foot noble fir tree. This used to be a wonderful, safe part of our Christmas experience, until we saw a truck almost go over the edge of the mountain, and a family trying to get up the mountain in their buick. Their car stalled and they all piled out, wearing their church clothes; little girls in mary janes, no coat on the grandmother or mother, dad in a suit..........the forest service had to tow them out and back down the mountain. There came to be so many people ill prepared to be up in the mountains (sorry! but most of them had California plates), we quit going up into the forest and for the last 6 years, we cut our tree at the Holiday Mountain Tree Farm, which is up abut 1,500' in the foothills near North Bend. Alot of hiking was involved in finding the right tree and then cutting and hauling it back to the car.
In the photo below, you can see the tree has been cut and put on top of the vehicle we had at that time.
Once home, we would take the tree inside, after cutting it to the 16 1/2 foot height, and lay the upper third of it on a chair. Then we would begin the lights and decorations. Bill would string over 6,000 tiny white lights and the kids and I would begin to hang the first of over 1,000 decorations. Once the upper third was finished, we would raise the tree, with its trunk in a bucket, and tie it off with fishing line to strategic points on the bannister railing and the window sill. Then over the process of a week, we would finish off the lower third of the tree, working whenever we could. As the years went by, KD began to help string the lights and it was Ian's job to get the Nutcrackers on the high windowsills.
I don't know how to rotate a photo so you will just have to rotate your head to see the tree below. Every tree was different, sometimes very bushy and sometimes, very thin, like last year's tree below. But, always beautiful, always the 'wild christmas tree'..............
Once the tree was completed, we began getting ready for the party.
And, it was a major production. Both inside and out.
Ian and Harrison strung both white and colored lights around the ponds and into the trees, creating clever scenes and light displays. Some years they would hang colored lights on the deck above the lower level of the house.
The night of the party they would fill the luminarias with sand and candles and light them going all the way up the driveway. The front deck entry was filled with gnarly willow and birch, covered in tiny white lights, creating a beautiful entrance to the house.
The three levels of the house were cleaned and decorated.
On the main level, Christmas dishes and serving plates were brought out. The cd's were ready to play. The ribbons and wreaths were in their places. My mother's hand painted balls were in the big clear Italian vase, my father's hand carved santa men were on the shelves.
The fire was laid, ready to be lit.
Upstairs, the huge french antique bed was covered in colored quilts and would be home to coats and hats and gloves, which KD and Deanna and Lisa would gather as they met guests at the door.
The lower level was set up with arts and crafts for the kids and the video, Home Alone One, was ready to go. The sign up sheet for the pool table was posted on the downstairs wall, and when the kids were much younger, the sitters had their instructions on how to keep the kids occupied downstairs with card making, snow globe creations and making tree decorations.
Upstairs, the adults feasted on pot luck items brought by everyone to share, listened to christmas music and chatted the night away. Many of us had not seen each other since last year's party. Kids came upstairs to see parents, grabbed plates of food and mounds of cookies and peppermints and chocolates and headed back down to watch Home Alone Two.
Around 9pm, Bill and the boys, who were Ian and his buddies, went outside to light the bonfire. Once it was going strong, Ian and Harrison would hand out the Christmas carol sheets and flashlights to everyone as they donned their coats and hats and gloves and made their way to the fire. Once we were all gathered around, we began to sing. It was magical.......
really, really cool, all those christmas parties...always something going on, too...there was the year laura fell through the deck and was dangling in the air, the year brother john fell in the pond, the year manch and his buddies played get the flag and climbed to the top of the huge cedar trees, the year i forgot i had put a big ham in the oven and forgot to turn the oven on and found the ham the next day, the time gernot asked if we had any music other than christmas music, the time eric started to finally lead the carols himself and not just listen, the time hubertus stayed to hear us sing oh tannenbaum in german just for him, the time one of the kids brought a trumpet to play during the carols (who was that?), the time mary brought her white bird on her shoulder, the time hillary came with her boyfriend, soon to be husband and she used to be one of the little kids who then became a sitter and then became all grown up, the year we kept blowing fuses on the tree and one minute it was dark and the next it was light, the year only half of the tree would light, the year the power was out for 11 days and it came on the day of the party, the shrimp molly always brought, the beautiful champagne and wine glasses barbara gave us for the party, making sure i had all the pistachios steve could eat.............i could go on and on..............
So, tomorrow night is the Friday before Christmas, and it is the night of the Christmas Party.
I guess it will just be the 4 of us, Bill and me, and Cookies and Ashes.
If you are reading this and you were at the Christmas Party in the past, we want you to know that it was truly the most wonderful time of the year. We miss you all very much, especially this time of the year.
We will start a little bonfire tomorrow night and sing a few carols and we will think of all of you and all of the wonderful Christmas parties we shared!!!