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Love and Hate

The ups, downs and overall delights of parenthood
Nov 24, 2010
08:21 AM

I Love My Holiday 'Dumping Room'

Once I accept that I must entertain for the holidays, I feel optimistic about my ability to prepare the house. But I am old and wise enough to know it will never be the whole house that gets clean. One room has to take the brunt of my pre-entertaining dumping

I Love My Holiday 'Dumping Room'

In my first house – long before kids – I understood that I needed one dumping room in the house. I think most of us have one. It may be the attic or the basement or a spare bedroom, but it's the room where you know no guest will have the nerve to go, so you can keep it a little messy. Especially when there's heavy cleaning to be done right before a big get together.

As a person with a large-enough home that's all on one level, I'm jealous of people who have two story homes. No one EVER knows what's going on up there!

So, prior to the holiday parties I host at Thanksgiving and Christmas, I do my best to clean the house while keeping the girls at bay – because what the mom cleans, the kids will mess again. But no matter how early – days or weeks in advance – I get the process started, there's always a pile of unsorted dreck that I can't put in its place because time is up. And then there are just the usual piles of kids' school papers and bills and whatnot that have to be moved to make way for beverages and snack offerings on the kitchen counters.

So like it or not, there's nothing to be done in that hour before the first guest arrives but to do my old traditional heave-ho!

In my case, it's our master bedroom that does the dumping duty. The rest of the house may be pleasing to the eye, but our room floor and even the bed is stacked high with all kinds of stuff that will never find its rightful place until the gravy boat has finally been washed and put away. I must admit that sometimes, small children wander in there when they can't find the bathroom – and I wonder if, after they find their way out of the madness of our bedroom, they have nightmares about it afterward. Oh, well.

In those exhausted hours after putting on a big event for 16 of our closest relatives, the tradition at our house is to push the assorted junk off the bed before we nestle down to sleep with visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads, and wayward papers and kid barrettes scratching at our backs.

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