My enthusiasm for Christmas was put to the test when Julia and I were tasked with hosting Christmas Eve dinner. My initial response was "Let's have a Austrian-themed meal!" because two weeks ago I heard Arnold Schwarzenegger say "schnitzel" in an interview. Then I remembered that sausages are for stadium parking lot gutters and Christmas belongs to the Who's. Who? The Who's down in Whoville. And no place on Earth represents Christmas like Whoville. And I love them. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was my favorite Dr. Seuss book when I was a kid. So, manly men reading a woman's blog, if you have to host a party, own that shit and give it a theme that excites your holiday (or whatever) spirit and while you're at it, you should also stop rolling your eyes at me and being so casually apathetic about everything, Judd Nelson. And get a haircut. And tuck in your shirt. This stuff can be fun.
So, where do you go when you need to plan a party? Pinterest. Specifically, you create a secret board and share fun little pins with your wife. Actually I juuuuust realized that my entire Pinterest identity should be a secret. But seriously you can find ANYTHING arts and crafty on Pinterest. There are enough oddly specific party themes pinned on Pinterest ("Sexy Hunger Games" what?) than there are cat ladies at Michael's so, chances are, you're not alone with your ideas.
Then, you physically go to Michael's (sorry, so so sorry about that subtle foreshadowing) and you gather your resources. The best part about Pinterest is that the cat ladies do most of the work for you. They create printable things and give you all of the recipes. If you can read a list and know the location of a Safeway, you're almost a certified wedding planner. However, there's still some stuff that will require you to suspend all judgement and hate and delve into the parts of your brain that help you make breakfast when you're out of eggs. Need some material that looks like a Grinch beard? Thank God I found these green feather boas in the party aisle! Need a background for a photo booth? A plastic tablecloth could solve that! See? Ugh, not gonna lie, it was tough. I honestly couldn't get out of that place fast enough. But, mission accomplished.
So now that you have the resources and the very specific and exact list of instructions from your new Pinterest friends and pen pals, put it all together BUT don't go overboard because, at the end of the party, the FOOD is the most important ingredient. I can cook one thing at a time but I get MOTHER LOVING stressed when I have to coordinate four different dishes. Who Hash, Roast Beast, Whoville Farm Veggies, and Mount Crumpet Martinis sound cute but I could feel my subconscious Gordon Ramsay's disappointment breathing down my neck as I fumbled meat and potatoes around the kitchen (much to the dog vacuum cleaner's delight). That's the part that demands the most planning and attention. The decorations will be a wonderful distraction if you place them directly above the toilet so that your guests have something to annoy them while they're suffering from food sickness and confusion. So, have a plan.
OUR PARTY WAS AWESOME! Parents and other parents loved it. Then we reused most of the decorations, cocktail ingredients, and photo booth materials for a party with friends a few days later. TOTAL SUCCESS. Nailed it.
One of the best things I did was download the Grinch font so I could write like Dr. Seuss.
Julia handled the craftier of the crafts, like making Grinch-themed props for our photo booth. She found an assemble-it-yourself props kit filled with mustaches and spectacles but tossed most of the hipster garbage. That's the Grinch's beard and hat, a heart that grew three times its size, the dog Max's antlers and nose, and one of Cindy Lou's crazy hair bows.
To make the photo booth, we hung this plastic tablecloth so guests could pose in front of a festive background instead of a boring white wall. Pro tip: Don't come skipping in from the garage with a staple gun and expect to use it on your wall when your spouse is home.
According to Dr. Seuss, the Who's eat Who Hash which, like Christmas, doesn't come from a store. To find Who Hash, Pinterest led to me to the printable labels on this awesome blog. We taped them on mason jars because mason jars are the duct tape of Pinterest; when a party needs to be fixed, just put some stuff in mason jars and you're MacGyver.
Our dinner menu was based on the Who's famous feast feast feast. I also shamelessly plagiarized from this blog post.
Everyone had a Grinchy name to let them know where to sit at the feast.
If you don't recall the Holiday Cheermeister from the original tale, it's because this character is in the 2000 movie remake with Jim Carrey and that chick from Gossip Girl before she went all Hot Topic.
These are Grinch kabobs. I can't take credit for this brilliance. See the original recipe if this picture is too much of a puzzle for you.
Here's my own original contribution to the Pinterverse: the Mount Crumpet Martini. That'd be one part vodka, one part Peppermint Schnapps, half part creme de cocoa, and two parts eggnog. Notice the candy cane rim? I put some candy canes in a ziplock bag and threw it against the wall fives times then smashed them into smithereens with a meat tenderizer until I felt happy. Then I daintily coated the rim of the glass with a thin layer of honey and dipped said glass in those demolished canes. FOR THE LOVE OF CHRISTMAS someone please pin this so I feel validated.
I was forced to imagine that Who Hash is simply potatoes covered in cheesy bacon because that would explain why the Who's are always happy.
The Who's also ate Who Pudding, so for dessert, we had a pudding bar. Julia whipped up the pudding while I narrowly beat out another Christmas Eve procrastinator for the last package of dark chocolate chips. Okay, it was actually a Who Pudding and ice cream bar in case the pudding turned out weird. For the record, it was great.
The photo booth was fun for the whole family. Even the dog was kind of okay with wearing antlers for approximately 30 seconds to be my Max.
Yes, that's a Grinch shirt. Like I said, commit to a theme and go all out. Merry Grinchmas!