how to host a huuuuuuge Christmas – Orange County Register




Dear (huge and ever huger) Goulding family,

We would (with great trepidation) like to host Christmas this year at our (not huge) house.

Let us know if someone else already has plans underway (because we could be talked out of this massive project in a millisecond).

We’ll be in touch soon with food assignments. (Mind if we assign ourselves gherkins and olives, as we’ll be overwhelmed that day piecing together the puzzle of how to jam 25 warm bodies into a phone booth?)

Ho, ho, ho!

My husband Mike and his five siblings loosely cycle through Christmas dinner duty. The revolving sponsorship became a tradition some 15 years ago when their late mom downsized from her house — hearth of celebrations — to a condo.

About every 1,460 days, Mike and I suddenly take note that tag, we’re it. Fortunately, enough time in between elapses that romanticizing of the past has set in.

Actually, both of us are nuts about all things Christmas — except that it now circles around at a whiplash pace. Weren’t we just heaving all this stuff out of the attic two months ago?

And a lot of stuff it is. Even as we cut back — no more twinkling garland around the French doors, no more tinsel tree out back with its hue-changing spotlight — we expand.

My favorite addition: sequinned balls hanging from the entryway beams. Oh, and the Santa hat festooning backyard Buddha.

Last week of November, things start getting pretty Norman Rockwell-ish around here.

Up go the outdoor lights — big-bulbed, single-stranded and multi-colored. It’s a quaint mid-century look so underappreciated that our house doesn’t stand a chance in the neighbor decorating contest.

In comes the aromatic Nobel fir — always the real kind, because we are such suckers for nostalgia. Out come our treasured ornaments, many representing decades of memories — a collection I’d grab along with photo albums in the event of a fire evacuation.

Speaking of fire, logs crackle with regularity throughout the yuletide season — presenting a good excuse for eggnog and bourbon.

Poinsettias line the mantel, stockings draped below. Window panes shiver in frost — and not due to the 70-degree weather outside.

Almost embarrassingly, I could…

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