In which I am a Christmas host

No, not the Catholic kind. I hosted a dinner on Christmas chez moi, and it went pretty well. For a social anxiety sufferer, I’m being pretty social. Six friends came by for dinner, everyone bringing something for the dinner. I’d been concerned that I wouldn’t be able to cope, because of the fatigue I’ve been experiencing, so asked all to bring something. But looking back, it wasn’t necessary. We ended up with enough food to feed my entire street.

I cooked a very large capon, which is a de-maled rooster, for those like me who don’t know this. They grow larger than ordinary chickens. Over eight pounds of free-range bird roasted in my tiny oven for about three hours. Then a bunch of roast potatoes and for a veg the subtle sweet fennel or anise. I’d been going to go with green beans, but they looked so wilted in the store, I was more drawn to the spring green and perky soft fronds of the fennel bulbs. Fennel is a good looking vegetable.

My guests liked the fennel – a lot of them had never tried it before. And the chicken was juicy and flavorsome. Then guests brought a very tasty squash and kale pastry, bread dressing, and two cakes. Also salad.

I’d been to a family Christmas dinner on the 24th, and this friends one was better. In my family, there is so much unspoken pain, silent fights and disapproval and judgment. I kind of feel like I go to this dinner that my mother and siblings did work very hard at preparing, and which is delicious, but where no one much likes me.

At my own Christmas dinner, everyone basically likes me. What a relief. Though of course we don’t have this long confusing history together, and probably not much committment, but we’re enjoying each other’s company.

The downside was my fatigue of course. Between when the meal was served and dessert, I kind of lost steam, and had to sit down and rest for quite a while. One of my friends kind of took over and helped pack away the leftovers and load the dishwasher. Bless her.

Plus I was so tired, it was difficult to really socialize a lot. Luckily people had enough to say that I didn’t have to work hard to keep the party going. Well, now I know one reason my mother never says much at dinner – maybe she’s just so tired from all the work, and so relieved that it’s all come together, that she has no energy left for conversation.

After dinner, we all sat in my tiny living room and admired the Christmas tree for a while. Then people left around ten.

I’m glad I went through with the dinner, even if it wasn’t perfect and not quite as I liked. I suspect a few of my friends would have spent Christmas by themselves entirely – instead they had a good dinner and company – all that plus a Christmas tree. None have families of their own, and they are from other countries or provinces, so have no relatives to invite them.

A well-spent evening altogether. Now I have a week to recover – I am reading and going to movies (two movies so far, and counting).

Picture note: This decorated tree is at Allen Gardens, a large greenhouse right in the city centre. I went for an outing there with a group the week before Christmas.

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4 comments
  1. Nechtan said:

    Hi Ellen,Good for you. It sounds like it went really well and you should be proud that you pushed on through it despite how you were physically feeling. Also great that those that would have been otherwise alone were given the opportunity of company at this time of year.Two films already. Hopefull this has has a positive effect and you are climbing out of the fatigue. I hope all goes well for you and you have a great new year.All the bestNechtan

  2. Ellen said:

    It did go pretty well and I am kind of proud (blushing) :-)Thanks!

  3. diver said:

    Catholic 'host', v funny Ellen :)I thought it was a most sweet thing you did in hosting a group of people who, through their own lack of family, might otherwise have done Christmas pretty tough. I mean, Christmas, 'the season for giving' and all that jazz … you really dished it out. Good onya!All the best for the new year ma'am.

  4. Ellen said:

    Why thank you Diver. And all the best to you also Sir! (she says with a curtsy).

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