by Olivia Nicholas
Christmas is my favourite time of year. From buying gifts to baking Christmas goodies, this is the time that I wait patiently for all year long. When October rolls around, I begin planning what (in my neighbourhood) is known as the party of the year. I have had the honour of hosting some of the most elegant and beautiful Christmas parties for my family and friends in my neighbourhood over the years. The memories fill my heart with joy and anticipation of what the next year will bring. As I look back on my very first party, I realize how much I have learned as time has passed. Walk with me on my journey through planning my very first Christmas extravaganza. Perhaps it will help you with your planning.
Setting the date. Little did I know that the date of my Christmas party would make all the difference in whether or not families in the neighbourhood would actually attend. Thinking only of the festive Christmas spirit, I set the date for the week prior to Christmas. Mistake! I quickly learned planning the party too close to the 25th is a disaster. The next year, I realized the need to plan the date far enough in advance that my guests would not be caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. A few weeks after Thanksgiving is the perfect time for a neighbourhood Christmas party.
Starting a tradition. One of my fondest memories of my first Christmas party is beginning a tradition that still holds true today. I thought for weeks and weeks as to what the tradition would be. I wanted it to be something memorable and special, but also affordable for the families in the neighbourhood. After much searching, I came to the idea of having a neighbourhood Christmas tree. I instructed each family who attended to bring an ornament that represented their life or things that they enjoyed. Each year we add to the tree. Each family enjoys hanging the ornament and talking about the ornaments they have placed on the tree in the past. As families have moved on, we still have the memories of them hanging on the tree. It is a wonderful discussion piece at the yearly party!
Decorating. The very first Christmas party that I planned for was quite expensive. Why? I was starting from scratch. I bought beautiful white Christmas lights to encamp my house. Not only did I have to decorate the outside, the inside needed to be done as well. I decided to go simple and elegant for the indoor décor. Garlands, poinsettias, beautiful silver, and hues of red and gold embellished the inside of my home. I even purchased crystal serving platters for the food to be displayed on. That very first year, I may have gone a bit over budget in my spending. Now, however, I simply get my treasures now from the attic and display them in anticipation of the neighbourhood Christmas party. I add a little here and there to my collection. My neighbours usually wait on my cue to start getting into the Christmas spirit. When my lights and decorations go up, everyone realizes that the Christmas spirit has arrived!
Planning my first Christmas party was quite an adventure. I love to look back on it and realize that tradition that has came about because of my hard work and effort. The children in the neighbourhood know me as the Christmas lady. I like it that way! Christmas is a huge part of who I am. It is without a doubt my favourite time of year.
Olivia Nicholas is a writer, blogger and Christmas enthusiast. She is always happy to share her passion for life and experiences through her writing, and in her spare time works as a freelance writer for Storkie.
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by Mr B
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Charles Dickens wrote 'A Christmas Carol' in just six weeks. It's not clear whether Ebenezer Scrooge was based on a real character, but his transformation from miserable miser is echoed in the movie 'It's a Wonderful Life'.