We aren't really the party types—we only host one or two a year, and we only attend one or two a year at somebody else's house. But this week is a week for parties. The holidays do that to you, I suppose, make you gussy up and go out on a night you when you would normally sit at home with your feet up on the ottoman, a second glass of wine in hand and a cat on your lap.
This week, Husband's company hosted its Christmas party, which is always held at a lodge outside of town. The place is a lovely setting, with the entrance lined with lights that contrast against the dark and snow-covered grounds, like you're driving into a winter wonderland somewhere in the wilderness. It's actually a camp ground, but you forget that in the dark and in December. We have the dinner catered by a local restaurant that makes great appetizers and desserts people actually fight over, in a nice way. With a blazing fire in the center of the room, everyone sits around with their friends from work, and hardly ever with people they don't know. One of the other wives and I joked about how it's like junior high—you walk in the room and hope for a "good" table. We scrambled to claim ours, and the evening was fine. This year, we actually did sit with some people we don't know, and they were really interesting and funny. At the end of the evening, everyone gets their Christmas bonus and calls it a night.
Yesterday, my English class held its Christmas party, which is humble in that its held in the class room with no decorations or bonuses to take home. But no one cares. We eat, and we all like that, a lot. The students brought in fried beef of some kind (we couldn't figure out what, exactly), tinga (a great stewed chicken dish that's served over crisp corn tortillas), and different salads. They played a gift-exchange game and did a fill-in-the-blank exercise using traditional holiday verbs. I gave them their ornament gift bags, and one of them, Euphemia who is such a funny and sweet woman, gave me lots of chocolate. She and I read together quite often, and she giggles over her mistakes. She seems to have a healthy attitude about learning.
Tomorrow night, we'll join old friends at a winery that is truly in the wilderness, or at least it feels like wilderness out on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Dinner will be served in a lodge-like room, with the host and hostess who are the wine-maker and cook serving each course with a different variety of wine. It's always fun and noisy with 25 people or so talking and guffawing all at the same time. We all leave with a bit of a glow, if you know what I mean.
So, we aren't really the party types, as I said, but this week, I welcome every occasion to gather with people I know and respect and enjoy. Plus, I get to wear my red velvet tunic, which I've been saving for just such an occasion. After this, back to feet up on the ottoman, a second glass of wine and a cat in my lap.