I had a good Christmas Day. It wasn’t at all what I expected and I was really happy about it. My initial feeling about Christmas Day was not a nice one. My sister had announced to me a week before the day that they were coming to my apartment to celebrate Christmas. Huh? What? When? Who? Why? I didn’t understand how a decision to come to MY apartment could be made without me being consulted. Then again, my mother knew that I wouldn’t object to the decision once it had been made. I would hem and haw but still allow the event to take place.
What followed afterwards was a series of reminders being sent to me by my mother on:
1. The Guest List
2. The Lunch Menu
3. Dessert Menu
I instructed everyone that I would be providing dessert, so everything else had to come from them. There was no objection. (Hmm how strange!) I also informed my mother that I would not be picking up any relatives to transport them to my apartment since I would be too busy preparing for everyone’s arrival. No objection either. (Hmm something is up)
It has been years that my mother has been threatening me with spending Christmas Day at my apartment but somehow it never seems to materialize. Now, all events leading up to the big day seemed to have been planned and I had absolutely no excuse for not being ready for the day.
Christmas Eve Afternoon met me at my apartment wrapping gifts (well not really wrapping but placing them in small bags with kite paper being used to cover the item. I swear this is the best thing ever thought up to avoid wrapping presents). I got a call around 5pm from my mom asking if I had drinking glasses for everyone. I gulped. No I didn’t. Despite being an adult, I owned very little drinking glasses (two actually) since I NEVER entertained at my apartment. My apartment has loads of plastic cups (most tastefully done). I am clumsy, and I knock things down constantly. In my first apartment I had bought myself a set of nine glasses. They all broke, I either dropped them while taking them out of the closet or kicked one or two of them across the living room because I forgot where I had placed them after meal or after entertaining guests in the past. After these broke, and I spent hours looking for the missing pieces, I vowed to stop entertaining and to only use plastic cups. It had worked so far.
Anyway I digress, I panicked. I told her that I didn’t own much glasses and that I had no intention of going into a mall at this late hour to be stuck in traffic etc. She agreed on it and promised to buy me some for Christmas. (Disaster averted). She then informed me that seven people will be having lunch with me on Christmas Day.
“SEVEN? Seven? People…who pickney allyuh bringing?”
“Oh, your aunt wants to come along and your sister and your brother are bringing their respective people.”
“Steups,, they don’t have families to harass? And…ummmm.. one more person is missing.
“Well my old school friend is in the country for Christmas and I invited her as well”
“Stef…..Stefan you still there?”
Yes, I am here. Ok. It’s fine but I did not buy any presents for those extra people “
“ Ha ha ha ha Ok Stefan it’s fine.”
There was mild panic within me. That the number was way too much for my apartment to hold and for me to control. I suddenly realized that people would be wandering around (especially my aunt) and even though I have nothing to hide in my apartment, there are some things that I just don’t want people touching.
Then another revelation came: I would have to let people use the bathroom in my bedroom as well. Given the number of people coming and the amount of drinks I had on ice. ..sigh… that meant keeping a watchful eye on the snoopers. “THIS is too much work”, I thought to myself
I thank my lucky stars that my housekeeper had been in my apartment days before, so it was very presentable for general public viewing. I just had to pack my magazines neatly and keep my CD collection locked away in my wardrobe, just in case one of my siblings’ significant others wanted to touch them, soil them or (gulp) have me burn them a copy of something.
So much needed to be done now. I had to make a list. Would there be enough time? Is it too late to get a flight out of the country? Why don’t I watch Home& Garden, they prepare you for this type of thing!!! It was official. I felt like an old woman trying to hide her best china from the invading grandchildren.
I went to bed tried that night and I still knew I had lots of stuff to do. The list in my mind however, was simple one and it didn’t occur that I should’ve made a last minute run to a supermarket. Oh wait, I did at 7pm and found 3 of the 4 in the area closed and the other one causing traffic for a mile. Somehow in my mind, I thought that supermarkets would open on Christmas Day and that I would get the stuff then.
I jumped out of sleep Christmas morning when I realized that eight people were going to be eating at my house and I didn’t have enough knives and forks for the event. I have a nice blue handled utensil set. It contains 4 of everything. This of course does nothing since I need utensils for 4 extra people. I rushed out of my house.
Nowhere is open. The road is clear. There is not even a stray dog or vagrant in sight. I am alone on the road except for a few cars and three men eating doubles in St. James. I spot a Pharmacy and it was open but this yields no assistance as they don’t have utensils. I called a friend in desperation for assistance and I was grateful that she was going by her parents for lunch so I borrowed her utensils for the event. I apologized so much for being that neighbour that had to borrow stuff at this last minute. She just laughed at my silliness as she called it.
I was relieved. Everything else was just about ready , I now had the extra knives and forks and all would be fine. While I am driving back home, my friend Matthew calls me from Geneva to wish me Merry Christmas, and I inform him on what my day is going to look like. I am boasting that I am fully prepared now. He then puts his friend Yinca on and then she asked me one something simple question: “do you have enough utensils for dessert as well?”. My car slowed to a crawl at this point, as all was lost. A simple thing like spoons for ice cream and cake went ignored. I thanked her for her help but at this point, I was going to use what I had and make it do.
I got back to the house and the race began. I set up the dining room table, put fruit into a nice bowl, brought out the cakes so that they would be room temperature when lunch was over and placed utensils and the like all strategically around the table. Too bad the plates did not match with anything. No biggie. I am a bachelor…this is expected of me.
My mom calls at 11am to announce that lunch will be minus 3 persons. No aunt or significant others.(YES!!! Jesus loves me, my CDs are safe!! Malicious macos reduced tenfold). I was relaxed now and ready for their arrival.
They came at 12:30pm and everything moved really smoothly. We took dishes out of the car and I set them up on the table. Some things needed to be heated and that was done and we were on our way to lunch an hour later.
Lunch passed without incident and everyone felt relaxed in my apartment. My mother’s friend kept munching on the almonds I put out and even though she had a hearty meal, she took up the bowl of almonds and sat in front of my television set only to fall asleep in 5 minutes.
Gifts were exchanged and conversations throughout the day were extremely lively and at one point in time there was not a dry eye in the apartment as I related to them my paranoia over preparing for today. My mother doesn’t know where I get this streak from? Hmmm strange how she can’t remember BEATING it into me as I was growing up.
Dessert came much later and consisted of two types of cake, (a Bunt Cake and Fruit Cake) along with ice cream. Everyone was satisfied and well filled up.
I kept monitoring the wares in the sink as I am not a fan of washing them, but all seemed under control. When they decided to leave around 6pm, my mother wanted to leave every dish, container and bowl she had brought filled with food for me to eat for the next two months. I packed some of it away in my containers and got them to take the rest home. It was a bit of a fight but I managed to convince her that I would just come up home for more food should I run out. (Yeah Right, I made sure I had enough stuffing to last me for a long time, no need to go for replenishment).
All in all a good day was had by all and everyone complemented me on making them feel relaxed in my apartment. It was certainly my pleasure.
Oh I can’t find my bowl with the almonds anywhere……….