Last night was our annual Hanuk (oops, sorry) "Holiday Party". Friends and relatives seem to look forward to our party each year...and why not...we provide ambience, plenty of libations, free food (as my husband says, if you feed them, they will come) including homemade latkes (well from the box, but, let's face it, who wants to peel 50 potatoes when Manischewitz will do it for you).
The evening plays out the same each year...I spend the day setting up tables, chairs, decorationg, filling vases with flowers, finding places to hide all the crap laying around the house so people will actually buy that we are clean and neat.
After spending 8 hours readying the place, I rush upstairs to shower and beautify...no easy feat when you are now 50...just in the nick of time to greet our family and friends. In they swarm...suddenly the house is filled with 40 people (small this year in comparison to the ususal 55).
When everyone has arrived, it's time to unveil the beautiful Brent's deli platters. Suddenly the room stops, they look, and then it happens...they stampede...it's the wedding scene right out of "Goodbye Columbus" all over again. Now for those of you who don't know...Jews love their deli...nothing comes between a Jew and his deli. My husband swears he can hear the music from "Jaws" playing whenever the crowd hits the food. Within 10 minutes, the latkes are completely devoured...deli is strewn about everywhere. People's clothes are half torn off from being pushed and pulled out of someone's way. It is not a pretty scene. But it's a scene that takes place, year after year, for the last 16 years.
When the feeding frenzy ends...a quiet, yet eery hush befalls the room. That is the sound of 40 satisfied Jews...it's a beautiful and, may I add, gratifying sound.
A little time passes, and the guests begin to come to life again. Feeling satiated and replenished...we are able to move on to the next festivities of the evening...the "$5 gift exchange game". That's when everyone is assigned a number. When their number is called, they choose a gift. The next person called, can either pick a new gift, or steal from another. The frenzy begins again...40 adults become ruthless over a box of Jelly Bellies, or a Starbuck's gift certificate...as if the future of their life depended on getting that gift. By the end of the game, everyone has a cheap $5 gift in hand, and once again the crowd is subdued and satisfied.
Next, a little dessert is in order (a "little" meaning 4 cakes, 5 dozen chocolate chip cookies, 3 dozen brownies, a chocolate cream pie, and plenty of candy). Don't worry, I didn't bake all of that. Several guests were kind enough to contribute to the dessert brigade.
Soon the party ends...kisses and hugs abound everywhere. The door closes...and the clean up begins. On comes the Christmas music for clean-up inspiration (oops, did this nice Jewish girl say that?...well, I did already admit to this a few postings ago).
Now, I have an amazing husband, who has the joint cleaned up in no time. This man is from the "take no survivors" school of clean-up... "toss out everthing that isn't battened down"...I'm lucky he doesn't toss me out. So, within an hour clean up is complete.
Time to debrief about the party...but we're both too tired to say much...we just live with another year of satisfaction, knowing that we are responsible for sending 40 Jews back out into the world with a full stomach and a crappy little $5 gift...the true meaning of Hanuk (oops, I mean "the Holidays")