Because I am trapped in a crappy apartment, of course I am thinking about the parties that I could be having if I was not trapped in a crappy apartment.
Toying with the idea of creating a new holiday, tentatively named "Re-Establishment Day," to commemorate the day that we move back into our house - whatever day that turns out to be. Re-Establishment Day will be celebrated as follows:
One: I will decorate the house for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas simultaneously - being the three holidays that we spent in the crappy apartment. (I am studiously ignoring the fact that we will also be celebrating New Year's in the apartment, and perhaps Valentine's Day, and I'll stop there in the interest of preserving my Christmas spirit.) I probably will refrain from putting up the big tree, but the tabletop tinsel tree will be somewhere - perhaps decorated with measuring tape and hardware.
Two: I will invite our friends to come see the "new and improved house" and, perhaps, return a family photo or piece of artwork to its rightful place on one of our walls. As nice as it would be to have everyone help us unpack, I really think that that's an unrealistic proposition, given that unpacking is a pretty personal process - both in terms of the order in which you unpack things and in terms of not wanting people to see your underwear, or the contents of your kitchen junk drawer. I speak from experience: we had folks help us unpack when we moved in the first time, I left the room for a couple of minutes, and when I returned my glassware had taken up residence where I'd planned to put my dishware. ELEVEN YEARS LATER, MY GLASSWARE WAS STILL MISPLACED, because I never mustered the energy to shuffle everything. This time, everything's going to go where I want it to go.
So . . . that leaves the family photos and such, which are conveniently boxed and stored in the corner of my office. We'll move those over last, anyway, in the interest of not seeing them get broken, so I thought it would be a nice touch to have people help with that last step in the moving in process.
If we don't involve people in the rehanging, maybe we'll have them flatten a ceremonial box or something. I'm still in the planning stages.
Three: Liquor will be served. Also, possibly, some food.
In subsequent years, Re-Establishment Day will be recognized with another open house, which may or may not involve a multi-holiday decorating scheme, but regardless I will serve people liquor and say, "Look, we've been here X years since the diaspora ended, and we haven't cluttered things up too much." (Or, if we have cluttered things up, might I suggest that the looming specter of a Re-Establishment Day open house will motivate us to get our rears in gear?)
So, I'm getting myself through this out-of-sorts holiday season by focusing on celebrations to come - including Re-Establishment Day, but also the "nexts," as in "next Halloween" and "next Christmas." Having new finish-out will necessitate revisions to how I decorate and will perhaps inspire new party concepts. I have already come up with two for next Christmas: a hippopotamus party and a boy mom cookie swap.
The inspiration for the hippo party should be obvious. LOVE that song, and - let's face it - the Santa/reindeer/snowman motifs are played out. So, next year, I'm going with hippos. Hippos wearing Santa hats and reindeer antlers and/or smoking corncob pipes. One way or the other, I will make them festive.
The inspiration for the boy mom cookie swap is the Star Wars Christmas cookies that I made with my boys last week, and the plain-and-simple peanut butter blossoms that we made Monday night. It occurs to me that boys like to make - and eat - cookies just as much as girls do. It also occurs to me that girl moms get to do the whole smocked-dress-and-hairbow-and-matching-bags-of-cookies thing, but there is no equivalent celebration for boy moms. So I'm going to have a boy mom cookie swap, but the rules will be different:
There will be no smocking of any sort, and obviously no bows. Nor will there be sweater vests paired with ties, which (I am informed by a twelve year-old) are the functional equivalent of smocked dresses. Dress code will be t-shirts, cargo pants and tennis shoes. (I predict that my oldest will wear his skull and crossbones tee, where the crossbones have been replaced with candy canes, and my youngest will wear his red-and green tie-dyed tee featuring a pirate dog wearing, I believe, a Santa hat. Because, apparently, nothing says the holidays to my children like pirates.) Cookie selections must appeal to boys, meaning that, at a minimum, they must be tasty, and also, preferably, they shouldn't be shaped like angels, or iced in pink. Awards will be given to the most boy-appropriate cookies. (With our extensive Boba Fett shortbread-and-gingerbread dinosaur experience, we would have this one in the bag, so I feel that we must recuse ourselves from the competition.) Oh, and the ice ring in the punch would have boy stuff frozen into it. Like Matchbox cars and LEGO minifigures.
Tell me I'm not onto something.