I didn’t have a single drink on Christmas, so I can only attribute my 48-hour hangover to my straight month of binge cheer. Yesterday, for the first time since I can remember, I found myself with time to lean, but not to clean, such was my Christmas coma. Our company could not have been better, with Mr. and Mrs. S, my brother CA, and one of my favorite non-relatives, Mr. C, who gets an honorary uncle title, all traveling up from North Scituate, RI. As the successful goose and expensive-flavored sauce dwindled, my shoulders slowly dropped from my neck, where they’ve been standing guard for weeks, and the rush of blood to my upper back was both refreshing and painful, but only in that reverse shapeshifting kind of way.
During my time spent planning and executing corporate functions, I acquired the useful habit of the post-party review. No matter how successful your gathering, it could have been better. Let me clarify that this should not be a negative, flagellant exercise. On the contrary, reflecting on your event after it’s over provides an opportunity to relive the best moments, note star dishes (as well as those untouched), while challenging you to inch a little closer to perfection for the next one.
For example, my coordination of food was almost impeccable, but next year I will serve one less hot dish, and add a cold one. Unless the double-oven fairy pays me a visit first. Additionally, I was too involved with meal preparation to ensure everyone received a timely cocktail and incremental refills, so next year I’ll make sure to task Mr. P with drinkmaster duty. Finally, I completely forgot the music. I’m having a little trouble forgiving myself for that omission, but one must remember one is merely a carbon-based life form.
I suggest you start a notebook where you designate at least a page to each party, dinner, and shindig that you throw. Column 1 should contain the positive elements; its length will correlate directly with the degree of your need for affirmation. Column 2 can itemize potential improvements and avoidable oversights. Use the notebook as the first reference you pull out each time you begin the planning process anew, otherwise you’re just being masochistic.