For me, entertaining in my home was never an enjoyable activity. But before kids it was certainly easier! I had lots of time to clean the house, plan a menu, shop and cook back then. With kids, entertaining creates a crazy chase scene. I clean the house one day and then ready the food while the kids are running through the house undoing all my cleaning – so I have to run around some more and more and more. Ack!
It’s a vicious circle.
Yet despite my entertaining phobia, this is the time of year when I open my house to my extended family, whether I like it or not.
Strangely enough, when we first start talking about me hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve parties way back in July and August, it always sounds kind of good. But as the holidays get closer and closer… well, I have to work my way through the Five Stages of Grief, which I find best describes how I feel about entertaining.
Stick with me. It really does make sense.
When I have people over I work my way through the Five Stages of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
The Denial Stage hits the moment I agree to host a party. I think, “Oh won’t it be nice to have everyone over? I can bring out that nice ice bucket and catch up on things with Uncle Fred.” I’m denying to myself just how much of a pain it’s going to be.
As the event creeps ever closer, Anger sets in. “What the hell was I THINKING? I can’t do this. And why did everyone pressure me into this? I don’t want to see those people anyway! Maybe we should go to Tahiti this year instead.”
Bargaining: I start cutting deals with the people who are coming. “OK, could you bring something for Thanksgiving dinner?” I ask my sister. “Sure,” she says, notably energetic because dinner’s not at HER house. “Cool,” I say, “bring the turkey!”
Depression arrives about a week beforehand when I realize Denial has left me in serious trouble. The house is messier than ever, no food has been purchased and I want to sleep all day.
Acceptance doesn’t hit until two days before the event. Then I turn into Super Mom, zooming through stores and running about the house, Comet cleanser sprinkled throughout my hair, getting everything ready.
By party day everything is done and I get to enjoy about 20 minutes of the party before clean up begins.
I was on the very threshold of getting out of Thanksgiving hosting this year when we considered visiting my in-laws over Thanksgiving week. Perhaps that would be less trouble than travelling over Christmas, I suggested. Then the girls wouldn’t miss their holiday sing-along at school, I proposed. Maybe I won’t have to make Thanksgiving dinner this year, I daydreamed! We came so close to being out of town for Thanksgiving, I could almost taste bad restaurant turkey in sun-dappled Phoenix!
But, alas, it turned out travelling to Arizona the week before Christmas would work better for everyone – except me. So this year not only will I be doing Thanksgiving, I will have to finish all Christmas shopping weeks early and we won’t arrive home to set up for our annual Christmas Eve party until, gulp, the 23rd!
Oh well. Maybe going through all Five Stages of Entertaining Grief in 24 hours will be a blessing.
But I can’t imagine how!