Before I was married, my mother used to host a party on Christmas Eve. She didn’t do it very long but I enjoyed it and when I got married, I continued the tradition. When the kids got to school age, we changed the date so it was a Saturday before Christmas. For many years, it has been the highlight of the holiday. I have baked for a month prior to the party. Cookies and breads galore.  A few main dishes, side dishes, chocolate fountain. For many years, we had a pool table (the ex got rid of it two months before he filed for divorce- I gave in to make him happy) We have  dart board, air hockey table. When the kids were younger, we let them have one friend spend the night every year. One young man has only missed a couple of these parties since he was about five. He is twenty now. We have had as few as ten people come and as many as sixty come and go. We have had clear skies and almost blizzards but it has happened every year. Every so often, during my bad years, I would threaten to cancel the party due to stress but was always glad that I didn’t. The event was always one of my favorite nights of the year. After the divorce, I almost stopped but the kids still really wanted it to happen. Some of the best ones have been the past few years. We pulled out the karaoke machine, board games, and just enjoyed the time BUT it has been more and more difficult for all the kids to be here. The middle one has been late or missed due to work for years. She won’t be able to be here at all tomorrow. My son has to work  and miss the first few hours. The eldest is driving down tomorrow and has no idea when she will be here. I have been working so much as have the kids so hardly anything is ready for tomorrow night.

I made a decision today. This is the last one. I basically cancelled it today. I told a few people to still come. Tomorrow I will clean house and make cookies. We only have a few old time guests coming, including that young man. Next year, my kids and I will not be hosting this party. Our lives are so different now. They have jobs, boyfriends or girlfriends. I am trying to date. I love our party but no longer want to make this a have to event every year. We may choose to do something smaller from time to time but no longer will we have a date set in stone for a year. No longer will  I spend a ton of money and time on this party. The kids will be free to go hang with friends during the holiday time when they are in town and their friends are home, too.I will have the freedom to go with a boyfriend (if I have one) to other events.

It has been a good long run. I have hosted this party 25 times in 27 years. There are many things that I will miss but it sometimes is good to change traditions. I wonder how I will feel next December when I do not have a party to plan and prepare for. Only time will tell but I imagine that I will be more free with money and time and that will be good.

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