Today is my annual holiday open house. I invite just about everybody I know who is local to come to this event the first Sunday in December from 2-5 pm. I started doing this in the late 1970s when I invited my two French classes and other graduate students to come for a cookie exchange. The kids were always excited about coming and taking home a bunch of cookies. Then I began inviting faculty friends and people I knew from my part-time jobs. I made mulled wine and eggnog with bourbon from scratch. I never drank those (too sweet). I'd just have a never-empty bourbon on ice in a coffee mug. Oh the games we used to play.
Most of the years since then, I've held this annual event, the only big party I ever give. It's been an alcohol-free gathering since 1989 and a sugar-free gathering for about the last five years. I make a cranberry cider and ask folks to bring savory appetizers and no sweets. I've discovered you get a lot more interesting food if people can't bring cookies and brownies and fudge, the holiday standbys.
It's now 12:40 and I'm ready for the party. I have it all down to a routine of set-up and tear-down after so many years and I make the cider in advance. But it's about now each year that I wonder what I'm doing this for. As an introvert, I don't much care for a lot of noisy people invading my not terribly big space. I'm also a One on the Enneagram scale. We like tidy and orderly and parties are seldom that. So I feel trepidation and a desire to run away and put a "open house cancelled" on my door and go to a movie.
Then I remember that I'm blessed with lots of interesting people in my life, who will also bring other interesting people with them, and that in a big way, this party isn't for me but for all my friends to meet each other and make good and perhaps important connections. And it's an easy way for me to get together with acquaintances, those folks I know won't ever be close friends but I like them and want them to know that.
And I know how to take good care of myself. I went to the gym this morning and had a good workout. Then I went to the studio and painted for an hour and came back happy. We'll all have a better party now!