Wrapping Up Twelve Months of Parties

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By Emily Paster

So, remember last December when I started a project to throw a different party for each month of the year? I called it "Twelve Months of Parties for 2012." (I found out later that a friend of my husband's on the East Coast who is a faithful reader — thank you! — called it "Twelve Parties I Know I'm Not Invited To." I hope no one else found it to be that way.) Well, as we are now halfway through the last month of 2012, it is time to check back and see how I did. I cannot tell a lie: I didn't quite manage twelve parties, but I did manage to do nine of them. And I think I achieved my overarching goal, which was to force myself to entertain more and to entertain in new ways.

Here is the plan I set out for myself:

January — Family dinner party (casual)
February — Superbowl party
March — Adult dinner party (elegant)
April — Passover Seder
May — Mother's Day Tea
June — Brunch
July — Summer cookout
August — Cocktail party
September — Kid birthday party
October — Game night
November — Girls Night In
December — Cookie Exchange

Here's what actually happened:

January — Family dinner party (casual)
February — Oscar party
March — Adult dinner party (elegant)
April — Passover Seder
May — Didn't happen
June — Brunch
July — Summer cookout
August — Didn't happen
September — Kid birthday party
October — Didn't Happen
November — Hosted Book Club but didn't blog about it
December — Cocktail Party

Many of these parties or meals I will host again in 2013. I can't exactly get out of hosting a Passover Seder or a kid birthday party. And I'm sure that I will have friends over for brunch, for a summer cookout, and for a family dinner because I love to do those things. Of all the parties that I threw in 2012, the one that was the most atypical for me was the Oscar Party, and that was also one of the most fun. The Oscars are just way better with cocktails and friends to discuss the fashion with. I can see Emily's Oscar Party becoming an annual event.

What did I learn in hosting these nine parties? First, it is important when entertaining not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. (That is one of my husband's favorite expressions.) What I mean is: it's better to throw a party where you buy all the food from Trader Joe's and let people mingle in your unfurnished living room than it is not to throw a party at all because you feel uncomfortable about those things. No one expects your house to be perfect; no one cares if the food is homemade or not. All that your guests care about is that you opened your home to them. If you are happy to see them and make some effort to feed them, they will appreciate it and they will have a good time. I need to remember this as much as anyone because, well, I am perfectionist.

The holiday cocktail party that we threw for our neighbors was this past weekend, and although it was a fat ton of work, it was a lovely evening and I was very happy with how all my party food turned out. I will be sharing the recipes with you over the next few days. I hope that they will help you with your holiday entertaining!

Did you entertain a lot in 2012? What was your most successful party?


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