Wednesday, December 10, 2008


This beautiful old house is located on the way to Haven Beach, at the intersection of two roads. Don't ask me to name those roads, I implore you. Speaking of ramshackle houses (and I wasn't, this one is beautiful), I continue now with how I'm preparing for the neighborhood Christmas party I am hosting this weekend.

In today's segment of Chesapeake Bay Woman's Guide to the Holidays we discuss how to properly invite guests to your annual neighborhood holiday function. Let's begin.

1. Decide on an invitation, but do not purchase any. Instead, use some leftover Christmas cards from last year. Nobody will ever notice.

2. Use Word to create an insert with all the pertinent information such as date, time, location and other germane facts. You will tape this over the cheerful Christmas message inside the leftover cards.

3. Call your 13-year-old son to ask for technical guidance related to designing the insert to be taped on the card. When he says this: "Wah wah wah MAIL MERGE wah wah, create the whole thing in Word wah wah" go ahead and give him the deer in the headlights look. It's your right and privilege at this age (yours, not his). Then explain that your way (i.e. take Christmas card, open, tape the relevant info you created in Word, hello? this is so much easier) will be less stressful for all parties involved. Remain calm as he rolls his eyes and shakes his head.

4. Print the inserts and cut them to fit inside the old Christmas cards. Utilize basic cutting skills most folks acquire in kindergarten, yet remember that cutting is not always like riding a bicycle, and some people are more patient and better at it than others. Repeat this mantra over and over until you are convinced it is true.

5. Tape the inserts in the old Christmas cards, covering up the Merry Christmas greeting. It's OK if your taping isn't perfect or if things are slightly cock-eyed (present company included).

6. Don't forget to include a phone number for your guests to RSVP, so you will be able to plan accordingly. Since you did forget to type that in the insert, go ahead and hand-write that nugget of information on the poorly cut invitation. You are currently way too far into the project to start over.

7. Say a few choice words when the envelopes from last year's Christmas cards are permanently sealed shut. Thank you, Virginia humidity. From last summer.

8. Write the names of your neighbors/guests on the envelope. At this juncture it is helpful to know the first and last names of your dear well as their spouses' names. Hypothetically speaking, if you can't remember Dear Neighbor's last name, or a spouse's name, go ahead and jot down the part of the name that you actually do recall. Assume they will know it is also for their spouse, and certainly they know their own last name. Since your children will be delivering the invitations, there's a possibility the neighbor will assume the children created the invitations. In fact, when they open it up, they will be 100% convinced the children created the invitation.

9. Blow kisses to your children as you send them off to hand-deliver the invitations to your neighbors.

10. Wait about an hour for the phone to ring. Here's what you can expect:

Neighbor: "Chesapeake Bay Woman, are you trying to tell me something?"
CBW: (No response. I have no earthly idea what he's talking about.)
Neighbor: Well, I received a Christmas card with no information in it."
CBW writes another Note to Self: "Dear Self, Do you remember in Step 1 where you said nobody will ever notice the re-purposed Christmas card? Guess what? When you neglect to INSERT the insert and tape it over top the greeting, they WILL notice."

This concludes our segment on how to properly invite guests into your home during the holidays. Always remember:

1. The actual invitation--which includes the who, what, when and where of your delightful holiday function for which you are completely unprepared--is an essential ingredient in the invitation process. Without it, there is no invitation, is there?

2. Wah wah wah The invitation sets the tone for your party and gives your guests a hint of what is to come. Wah wah.

(Go ahead and insert a pregnant pause here while you reflect on #2 above.)

3. Uh-oh.


Unknown said...

You are hysterical! I love your invitation format. I like e-vites. The recipient can RSVP right then and there, and there's even a place for a comment.

But then, you live in Virginia where the level of formality outshines Texas.

I can't wait for the menu

Bear Naked said...

Oh this is going to be good.
I can't wait to hear about your annual holiday function.
Will there be blood, sweat and tears?
Do you have help from CBMother or is this an *I can do it all by myself* party?

Bear((( )))

Angela said...

Chuckle. I can only repeat what I keep saying here - you are fabulous!

Mental P Mama said...

"The invitation sets the tone" is one of the few things I can hear my mother say when I am planning a party. That must be why I have to take out a loan to get invitations. I think you have set the tone rather nicely for your wingding. Since the CB children apparently got lost on the way to my house, I will have to read all about it here.

nonizamboni said...

This is perfection! You had me nearly falling off my chair.
Happy Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

Guess my invitation got 'lost in the mail'.....same as last year.
That's okay, your present won't go to waste...probably drink it tonight :)

Meg McCormick said...

MPM, that's exactly what I was going to say - we were home all evening yet did not see any Chesapeake Bay Children hiking up our driveway to deliver OUR invite. Unless we missed the doorbell and they stuck it in the front door, in which case it could go undiscovered for months because WE NEVER USE THAT DOOR.

Also, CBW neglected to add the step about driving her children two hours up I-95 in order to personally present invitations to family(ies) in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Details, details.

Cool Breeze said...

The anti-Martha huh? ... sounds more like Lucy.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ - The problem with e-vites is two-fold: First, not all my neighbors have a computer. Can you believe that? And y'all think I'm behind the times with dial-up internet and a low-tech blog (you're right, btw). But it is true, we have folks without internet, my dear parents included. I am sure you can guess the second reason for no e-vites. Refer back to sentence above about someone being behind the times...

BN - CB Mother is in fact helping, as is CB Father and anyone else I can drag into the ordeal. Only two precious days left to do pages of To Dos though.

Angela - Fabulous may be overshooting, but you're very kind for saying it. BTW - I have not forgotten about our discussion about helping out those children, but I may have to delay my part in it until after I survive Christmas, assuming I do in fact survive. Nevertheless, I do want to help you.

MPM - Although you are most certainly my blogging neighbor, this annual party is for the neighbors on my lane and it rotates from house to house each year. As I keep stating, any time you want to visit, the welcome mat is on the stoop. We'd love to have you.

Nonzamboni - Glad you enjoyed it. But it is imperfection, not perfection. In fact, it's imperfection on steroids.

Anonymous - If you move onto our lane, you'll be invited next year. In the meantime, thank your lucky stars that you are not around here this weekend...

Meg - Anytime you want to visit, same deal as MPM. But you have to live on the lane to come to the party, at least that's been the tradition these past 7 years. (Regarding your greenery, I actually may be going to Fredericksburg in a couple of weeks and could possibly bring you some if you wanted to meet there.)

Cool Breeze - Lucy, perhaps, but last night I was likening myself to the three stooges. All three of them. You and BHE need to hit the Mathews parade this Saturday (I've only said that five times now, I realize, but it is a wonderful parade).

A Scattering said...

OMG, you're a riot! I'm bookmarking you so I can continue to read your Holiday tips. Girl, you write with voice in a big way.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Elaine Dale - Thank you but just remember: If you do the opposite of everything I say and do, your holiday party will be a smashing success.

Anonymous said...

This is hysterical! Absolutely hysterical.

So um, hows the menu looking?

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Auds: Menu? That's a worry for another day....

Anonymous said...

A prerequisite that we live on the lane in order to go to one of your parties....picky, picky, picky! Next thing ya know you'll be wanting a resume and a police record check....

But enough teasing:)

Hope the party goes well! Take lots of notes (and pictures) to share with all your readers. Figure there'll be a story or two based on Mistletoe observations!

Unknown said...

You are SO so funny : ). I love that you are having a fun party for your neighbors. I think you are Way cool!