The perfect Christmas dinner is … none
It worked for exactly one Christmas until, like the monthly dinner parties I'd tried to plan, it devolved into a stress fest.
I'd spend weeks negotiating a time that worked with everyone's schedules, but people would show up late anyway. We're talking an hour, not minutes. Way to ruin a rib roast.
I'd have to beg people to come to the dining room because the negotiated start time usually collided with a Lakers game. Come on, people. It's Christmas. Missing a few seconds out of 82 games won't kill you.
It finally occurred to me to wonder why, if I was going it "right," I was so miserable every year. Hospitality shouldn't feel like poking pencils in your eyes.
So I gave up. While there are many things worth doing because they're right for you even if they're not for everyone else, this wasn't one of them. Particularly once the guys came along and playing with them was more fun than fretting over who was going to show up and when.
I switched to a heavy hors d'oeuvres buffet that can sit on the table for hours - and sometimes does. It's not any less work total because allergies mean we can't buy even fairly basic things such as ranch dip. But it's considerably less stress on Christmas Day.
The guys enjoy it - Big Guys is all about the buffet - though I did make a mistake of setting the cookies out too early and leaving the sodas within reach that first year. Lesson learned after I spent hours policing the dining room.
The "traditional" prime rib dinner and Christmas china, meanwhile, have moved to 24th. The only guests are the guys, and they gladly show up on time because they know they get to open presents once we're finished.
Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.