The Tea Party

Tomorrow I’ll be taking off to spend my first Christmas ever away from my family.

My underwear is clean. My really warm coat is out of storage and de-wrinkled, so E’s parents don’t think he mistakenly left me at home and took a bag lady to Regina. The crochet scarf for his mom is wrapped. Ditto the book on notable gardens, for his dad. Wool socks? Check. Books to read? Check. Plants watered? Check. It’s done.

I’m not worried about being thrust into another family’s holiday traditions. I can do that. I’m flexible, right? I can deal with it if the gravy is too lumpy or watery or turnip-y. It’s no problem if the gift-giving happens after dinner or something. I can do it.

The problem is the tea party.

Our family subscribes to the ‘more is more’ school of christmas tree decoration. We have about a bajillion decorations, ranging from the carnival glass heirlooms to the made-it-in-kindergartens, to the-bought-it-on-sales, to the ones from the year we made cookie cutter ones from playdough, and painted and be-sequinned them. The latter, my brother and I hung on the lowest branches when our last dog was alive, because she would obligingly chew the hell out of a few each year. She spat every soggy bit ut, so we never knew what it was that made her chew the, Finely honed aesthetic sense? Maybe. Bo and I hated those decorations.

But I have always, since I was old enough to decide on a guest list, been the one to create the tea party. I was always the more interested kid, when it came time to choose a tree, because I had to have space, around the trunk, for the party.

The tea party consists of the ornaments that are heirloom, or will be, and are also people or animal-shaped. They are the elves that sit on branches and the bendy, pipe-cleaner poodles. They are the little sweeping maids and the drummer boys. They are large-eyed mice and silly little fairies. When I was about six, I made my dad buy some decorations that were songbirds in gilded cages. I thought they’d add the right tone to the party.

Every year, the tea party comes out for Christmas. This year, they won’t .

I miss them. Don’t laugh.

2 Comments to “The Tea Party”

  1. By sarah, December 19, 2005 @ 4:48 am

    I wouldn’t dream of laughing. I know exactly what you mean. It WILL still be Christmas without them, but you’ll miss them, and that’s fair. In some ways, it will be easier to do without them in a completely strange environment.

    I, for one, am making my in-laws adhere to MY Christmas traditions, because I won’t let them go, and I want them for my kids. I’m rather ornery, though.

  2. By Liz, December 19, 2005 @ 3:04 pm

    I don’t know that I’ll be able to muster up the energy to be ornery. My holiday plan is to eat a lot and read some trashy books. I’ll still miss the tea party, though. 🙂

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