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When friends come to call, it’s the happiest season of all

December 15, 2012

Holiday parties run in both my biological and “adopted” family. My parents threw a Christmas brunch every year, with multiple types of soups and quiches. Chris’s family has a group of friends that they share Christmas Eve with, rotating the meal each year so no one has to host twice in a row. And of course, from Thanksgiving to New Years is a time of food, food, and more food. So of course, once we moved into our house, I wanted to have a holiday party.

Our first holiday brunch was last year and turned out to be a crowded, but successful event. I invited about 45 people, anticipating that about half wouldn’t be able to make it. Instead, I watched with a growing concern as the list of “yeses” kept getting longer and longer. After all, while Chris is capable of making a lot of food, our house is quite small.

In the end, we hosted more than 35 people, although many didn’t stay the entire time. As we were limited to our living room/dining room space – it was too cold for the deck and we have a galley kitchen – it was quite tight, especially with the Christmas tree! Nonetheless, everyone had a great time. I invited people from a lot of different places, including our church, my activist groups, work, and non-work friends. A number of people afterwards told me, “You know some really interesting people!” To me, that’s the highest compliment that a host can get.

We’re having this year’s holiday brunch tomorrow. We did invite slightly fewer people, having learned our lesson in terms of space. (Unlike the TARDIS, our house is not bigger on the inside.) Nonetheless, I hope that we can cultivate the same lively conversation and community.

To me, these parties are about helping people come together, meet others, and learn a little more about them. While I certainly enjoy parties with people I already know, the most memorable are those where I meet someone fascinating that I’ve never met before. I especially like the fact that our gatherings bring together people of such different backgrounds. If there’s one value that living and working near D.C. has instilled in me, it’s diversity. Beyond the inherent importance of inclusivity, life is just so much more interesting when you’re exposed to people with varying perspectives and experiences. The party is just the opportunity – or excuse – to bring people together for fun and conversation. Plus, to eat a lot of delicious food.

While there’s something about the holiday season that brings out the party spirit, I think it’s worth having these gatherings all year long. If only we didn’t have to cook so much food to do so!

To celebrate the occasion, here’s a recipe that Chris’s family makes every year – snickerdoodle cookies. We made just under hundred of them today, needing to bake for both our party and a church cookie exchange this week. I hope you enjoy them and share them with the people you love.

Snickerdoodles
Each batch makes about three dozen cookies.

½ cup shortening
½ butter
1 ½ sugar
2 eggs
Combine in mixer.

2 ¾ cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
Combine in separate bowl.

Preset oven to 400 F. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Roll into balls and roll in cinnamon-sugar. Lay on sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Snickerdoodle cookies

Mmm….

Do you regularly attend holiday parties, whether for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years?

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