Our housewarming party is in the history books! And I’d say it was a good one. (Not to brag, but one guest actually said it was, and I quote, “The best housewarming” he had ever been to.) We worked pretty hard getting ready, and we ran around a bit during the party itself, but we both also had time to relax, talk to friends, introduce people to one other, and just enjoy the gang that we had assembled.
The lesson for me in all of this is that in entertaining, some things matter: have enough good food and plenty of booze, with choices for everyone. And some things don’t matter: no one cares if the napkins match the plates. Or if the napkins match anything at all.
I felt like I was able to lighten up a little bit, even though, yes, I did snap at my dear husband when he put the cookies on the table in the plastic tray that they came in. But, c’mon. Desserts should be plated. He’s known me long enough to know better.
I also asked for help, and found that people were more than happy to be put to work assembling a salad or refilling the ice bucket. I’m reminded of a good friend with whom I volunteered as a youth mentor for several years. When creating the schedule for weekend events with dozens of teenagers, she would build in what she called “introvert time”, for those in the group (including her) who needed some quiet. It just occurred to me that for some party-goers on the introvert end of the Meyers-Briggs scale, a few minutes of focused alone time making a salad might be just what they need to re-charge before they head back into the social, extroverted fray.
Finally, I learned to trust other people to take care of themselves. Get them their first drink, then show them to the bar and let them help themselves to a refill. Make an introduction, and then let a conversation unfold. No one is going to go hungry or sit alone in a corner. Sure, if left to their own devices, half of your guests may end up crammed into the pantry well after midnight, drinking whisky and making music with a harmonica and your sauté pan. But isn’t that how most good parties end up?