So, as we all know, the holiday came and went in a blink. As I was shopping, cleaning and cooking this year, I continued to remind myself that I knew it would be over so fast. And I tried to take it all in, to appreciate the moments, the smiles, the family.
Every year we host Christmas Eve at my house. And, except for the year Nicholas was born, we have had the family over. This was our 19th year (minus 1 for Nick). Our largest sit down dinner that we hosted was 41 friends and family members. This year was 22.
The stories range from the house almost getting set on fire because a napkin hit a candle, to dinner being raw and having to be microwaved, to eating ziti out of a colander in the kitchen sink because I ran out of time to mix up the baked ziti.
This year didn’t disappoint. We were good — a little behind schedule, but appetizers were being served. I figured we would set up sternos to make it easier.
15 (at least) adults were standing in a 4′ x 4′ area. I tried to get them to go downstairs, but no one left. In the crowdedness, someone leaned on the table where the sternos were set up. The table fell over. The tablecloth caught fire. Luckily there was a full pitcher of water on the table, as well, which helped extinguish the flames due to the big puddle that had formed in the middle of the dining room floor.
And, the potatoes (wrapped with in foil in an aluminum pan in the sterno rack) went flying, too. I heard myself yelling, “Oh, my God! Fire! Save the Potatoes! We don’t have any more!” My oldest son, Gregory, was the hero. He stomped out the fire with the help of the water (luckily he had shoes on), threw the table cloth out the back door, and the dog proceeded to rip the extinguished fabrit off the deck and run around the back yard with it.
It was the usual crazy experience. I always wonder how we can top the previous year’s calamitities.
After my sister calmed down from her heart palpitations, dinner preparation continued — the turkey thermometer popped a little behind schedule, but it was out and served (1/2 hour behind schedule – not so bad). We did have potatoes, luckily they stayed wrapped and dry (no water or fire got to them). Everyone ate and went home with Christmas hugs and wishes and a great story to tell.
Next year may be catered. Or, we might do that barbecue we’ve talked about doing for years, but we’d probably have an ice storm and be unable to cook the hamburgers.
It’s all in a good story. And something my children, and the rest of the family, will talk about for years to come.
*note — photo is just for effect. Luckily the fire department didn’t have to come