With the holidays upon us, it’s time to consider that clunker of the holiday “to-do” list: The Guest List. Not that there’s so much to actually do when it comes to creating a guest list. It’s your list and your own editorial privileges abound. However, there is the matter of family obligations vs. personalities – properly assorting potential conflicting points of view is part of the guest-list process.
My family is small and not especially demanding which keeps holiday gatherings fairly simple, likewise, with my boyfriend’s kin. However, this Thanksgiving when we decided to cook together, we found ourselves confronted with a particular problem: a small gathering and the presence of several different, out-sized personalities. What to do with his Mom’s tenacity for detail and my sister’s fever for edge-y, sometimes disruptive, conversation during the time he and I would be elbow deep in turkey giblets?
This is where the holiday buffer guest comes in. I first became acquainted with the concept while I was still living at home and my sister brought college friends to our family’s Thanksgiving dinner. I will never forget the impact of having foreign, and - what seemed to me to be - exotic creatures, in the midst of our taken-for-grated, homespun holiday rituals. The result was that family tensions eased immediately as the focus shifted to our guests.
“Brilliant,” I thought, and a list of interesting, but not overly controversial friends came to mind for this years feast. In stepped John and Sandy, non-profit financial accountant and cycling aficionado and city social worker/dog lover respectively. John and Sandy turned out to be the perfect foil for would-be tensions between a good-doer/peacemaker and a sister with a tendency to incite controversial discussion. As a matter of fact, they were such the consummate guests they even brought a perfectly paced after-dinner party game, not to mention an unexpected cooler full of beer.
What more could you ask for? Any potential conflict melted away in a sea of turkey, a rousing game of Apples to Apples and, yes… a little beer.
Marcia Germ is a writer, designer and merchandiser and has worked in the fashion and retail industries for almost 20 years. She has lived in Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis/ St. Paul, and Charleston, South Carolina. She is an avid follower of lifestyle trends and consumer habits. She holds a BFA in Design from The Minneapolis College of Art and Design and is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
12/20/2010 at 8:58 PM