I intend to throw the perfect holiday party. I can position it somewhere ambiguously close to both Hanukkah and Christmas. Idk why Diwali was near Halloween this year? I’m confused by the Eids, and—let’s admit—Kwanzaa would be a reach for me. What about Festivus? Has too much time passed? Seinfeld references might land flat with the kids these days.
This is going to be an inclusive party. In that I am including people from different social circles. I’m about to create a scenario on purpose where worlds collide. Another Seinfeld reference. We’ll invite family, family friends, my work friends, Andrew’s work friends, and maybe even acquaintances! Imagine all these social bubbles percolating together. How wildly unpredictable. Who meets who and what they talk about will be totally out of my control. Come to think of it, given the volume of simultaneous conversations one can anticipate and my lack of omniscience, I won’t even know what most people talk about. I’ll have to guess whether they are having fun. Ick.
Hmm. I better start curating a version of myself that I want to portray for this party. For starters, I’d like to be the kind of person who doesn’t leave a broken vacuum in the dining room for nine months. Ugh. That vacuum. It’s an expensive Electrolux that my mother acquired and gifted to me. It’s a lemon. I’ve had it repaired twice. It’s unfixable. If I had purchased it outright, it would be in the trash. But, because it was a gift, I have built an accidental shrine to the broken vacuum, where one can pay their respects to those items condemned to gifted but unwanted purgatory. As it is among the first visually stunning works of art to greet visitors upon arrival, one can pay homage with great frequency.
Eventually, I’m going to have to decide what to do with this Electrolux, but I’m not up for all that heavy lifting today. Vacuum on the brain. What if instead, I take our vacuum that works, and clean out my car? Productive and neutral, compared to shrine pillaging, and all the conflicting emotions that come with the destruction of art, however ugly, to make way for progress. Yes, a change of scene will do nicely.
I know those other carpool moms drive clean cars–or rather–I have intuited it. There is a preponderance of sand, dog hair, granola, and pennies scattered hither thither. What does one even do with pennies anymore? It seems sacrilegious to throw them away. Canada got rid of pennies. I’m not sure how I feel about that. What I do know is that this car is starting to look half-respectable. I don’t have to roll through carpool riding dirty any longer. Although, nobody at the party is going to see my car parked in the garage, so this task feels a little distal to my goal of creating an illusion of with-it-ness to present at a predetermined time (?) and location (my house).
I suppose the TBD is on me. I can’t really ask other people when I should throw a party–that reads a little too helpless. When can I reasonably be ready to throw the perfect holiday party? If I employ some backwards design, what tasks would I need to accomplish before hosting the perfect holiday party? First, I’d have to declutter. Probably clean out some closets and drawers too–so that I have places to put the clutter. Then I’d have to dust. Once you dust, you notice the windows, then the baseboards. Next thing you know, you are cleaning the floor with a toothbrush. Also, there is the yard to contend with. Woe is me. I have a big yard. But it is a lot of work to maintain; never mind decorate. That would involve cleaning out the garage. Or at least some visceral acknowledgment that the garage needs cleaning.
As I’m feverishly cleaning my car like a crazed Cinderella on Ritalin—I wonder to myself—is this insane? Is it insane to clean my floor mats so other people will think I’m a good mother? Or is it more insane to believe I can bedazzle strangers who were never thinking about the crumbs on the floor of my car in the first place? Maybe it’s most insane to plan a party in which I will pretend to be somebody else in front of people I already know? Perhaps rank-ordering the layers of insanity isn’t the salient task at hand. It’s a lot to take in all at once.
Okay, so thinking back to the perfect holiday party timeline, it looks like I could optimistically be ready in about a year and a half. But that will be summer. Hmm. Perhaps a compromise is in order. I could instead host an imperfect holiday party. Besides, I was also planning to learn Spanish. And go back to Mexico. Pizza and beer it is. Feliz Navidad!
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash