Spread joy by having a party that is worthy of the season. Here are six steps that will help even a novice host or hostess be a smashing success.
1. Choose your plan or plot your party: casual, crazy, or all-out fancy.
2. Write your list. Who do you want to come and why—stag, dates, old folks, children, peers, or patients?
3. Talk it over with your parents, Mom for menu matters and Dad for physical arrangements. Consider who’ll foot the bill. You from your allowance? Mom from food money? Dad from his big heart?
4. Know what you’ll do when things get under way. Plan more than enough activity so things don’t drag. Get props, food, records, equipment, or whatever you’ll need ahead of time.
5. Count on cleaning up as part of party life.
6. Have fun at your own party by being prepared ahead of time and by seeing to it that everyone else enjoys things too. When you are a guest yourself, do your part to make the celebration special—it’s called “rising to the occasion.”
Help the helpless (paint a bathroom for a widow), or visit the sick (take along Christmas decorations), or pay a tribute to your bishop or principal (prepare a huge parchment scroll all be-ribboned, wax-sealed, and elegantly printed). And when the church has been cleaned, the walks swept, the program presented, or the painting done—when the good deed is finished—break bread. Fresh scones deep-fried and teamed with fruit, cheese, Christmas jam, and milk are perfect.
“Should aulde acquaintance be forgot?” Never, in your circle. Gather the crowd at your house and have all the makings for a large do-it-yourself New Year’s Eve Party to send to your favorite missionary. Have guests bring a novelty gift, horn, hat, or treat to include in the box. Bell-shaped sugar cookies ordered from the bakery can be frosted by guests to eat and to pack in the package. Prizes for the funniest, prettiest, or most appropriate cookies add to the fun. Make a mobile, using wire hangers and colored paper shaped into designs and tied with bright string by the guests. Have 5-by-8-inch cards ready for people to write advice, news, or greetings to the elder far away. Take photos of the whole proceeding and send the package away in time for the New Year. For the guests, homemade ice cream is a great go-along with cookies.
A Christmas card made by you of colored stock spreads the word that on such-and-such a day and hour, the door to your home will be open, welcome wide. Guests need to bring only one book or game to be given later to an Indian reservation or central city youth club. You might suggest a toy for the nursery at the church. If you have the fête before Christmas, invite guests to bring a tree trinket and hang it on a tree for the children’s ward in your local hospital. Seasonal and sumptuous food can still be simple if you serve from a buffet laden with home-baked cakes and warm wassail (spiced cider and fruit juices). For something to do during calling hours, have guests write a note on a cash-register roll to be sent to a missionary, soldier, a student away from home, or a shut-in needing good cheer.
Love begins at home, and that’s what this season is all about. Your club or class or quorum or gang could stage a let’s-be-kind-to-little-brothers-and-sisters event. Direct the youngsters in a production of the Christmas story. Avoid bedlam by careful preparation. Have costumes on hand for shepherds, angels, creatures of the manger, and the Holy Family. Copy the parts legibly and mount them in “books” made from file folders covered with bright paper and marked with colored ribbon. Preassign talent numbers for a program to follow the show and provide the children with Santa ice cream cones decorated with paper caps, coconut, and candies. Patchwork socks fashioned from felt or construction paper and filled with Christmas treats are suitable souvenirs. Take your camera to this one!