‘Tis the time of the year for my annual celebration of hosting mediocrity.
The invitations went out. By email. With no reminder two days before.
This is your casual, heartfelt, and festive but unadorned invitation
to our annual Low Expectations Holiday Party. Come to our house for a
minor-key gathering of joy, adoration, and minimal preparation as we
begin the seasons of Too Much to Do and Too Little Time.
Cheer with us an ambivalent welcome to Hanukkah, Winter Solstice,
Christmas, Kwanzaa, and any other cultural eating and drinking holiday you
Come as you are, with your favorite minimal-prep-time food or drink.
We will be here, without any promises to clean or decorate, but with
warm exclamations of how much we cherish you in our lives.
Guaranteed to be unassuming, but not underwhelming.
RSVP so we know how big a pot of apple cider we need to leave
simmering until you get here.
The day before the party I bought some cheese. I’m not gonna lie: it was good cheese. The kids were fighting and I offered threats and bribes in equal measure so I could select a triple-cream brie, petite basque, herbed goat cheese, and salty mountain gruyere. Later I ate the gruyere and had to serve a cheddar/parmesan blend.
I cleaned the bathroom. Then went for a run.
A few minutes before the party was supposed to begin I surveyed the Martha Stewart scene I had created.
Microwave covered in crap: check.
Mantle undusted and still home to a Lego piece, Pokemon card, and related detritus I have no home for: got it.
Decorative gourds still on the porch two holidays too late: handled.
Wax-covered menorah ready for next week and almost hiding random Halloween gift bag I’m too lazy too move: check.
Lots of crap shoved in a closet: nailed it.
Bag nobody uses and box of important projects crammed under antique seating: perfect.
I knew then that we were ready to underwhelm.
I think we exceeded expectations, actually. Hard to disappoint when you promise fair to middling.
I’ll admit it: I moved the candy corn bag off the table. Because good cheese deserves better than that. But I didn’t move the cat toy.
Or the spider ring and backpack tableau. Yes, seriously. So little effort required and so little given.