Jean Croker Petke

Company’s Coming

Company’s Coming

It’s not quite holiday time yet. I think it starts right after Halloween.

But for me, the holidays begin this week. Company is coming for four days: The Boy (3 1/2 year-old grandson) and his parents.

The following week four of my longest-time friends are coming for four days to talk and eat and do the town together.

Then the second weekend in November I serve high tea to four children, their mothers, aunt, and grandmother. This spring and fall event is a big fun deal for all of us.

To finish the year, I’ll spend December on the West Coast visiting family and friends.

So my holiday cooking and entertaining and hosting will happen in October and November. Christmas will be finished before I leave town in early December.

I admit I’ve been preoccupied with all that’s happening in the next two months. The details slosh in my consciousness.

Housecleaning: Guests are my excuse for the cleaning I don’t do on any regular basis. I’m a little embarrassed by the clutter on the coffee table, dust bunnies under the furniture, file folders on the office floor, spider webs in the ceiling corners, and sticky stuff on the kitchen floor. I’ve given myself one weekend to clean. I figure a good cleaning now, and straightening up between events will be sufficient. From my perspective, neatness makes my home look clean, even if it’s not. Guests won’t give my house the white glove test. They’re coming so we can have time together.

Open House: People will use every bedroom, bathroom, and closet. Other cars will be parked in my garage. Most everyone will make themselves at home in my kitchen and pantry and fridge. They’ll use my washer and dryer as well. No nook or cranny will escape them.

Hiding gifts: Because it’s open house, there’s no place to hide gifts I’ve already purchased. I wrapped everything — now gifts can be in plain sight and it won’t matter. One less thing to do closer to Christmas.

Planning: I’ve recently discovered on-line grocery ordering. What a time and energy saver! I’ll certainly take advantage of that convenience these next few weeks. My years as a caterer gave me valuable experience in ordering, menu planning, and executing production schedules.

I tell you all of this because . . .

Even though we probably have very different holiday schedules, the process is the same.

The way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Forget the overwhelm that often accompanies the holidays. Plan ahead. Start early. Do one thing at a time. The rest will wait on your list until you accomplish the task at hand.

Look for ways to save time and conserve energy. Decide such things way ahead of the event.

The purpose of holiday events is to enjoy your time with family and friends. If you’re too exhausted to enjoy them, what’s the point? So plan to avoid exhaustion and last minute hassles.

Happy holidays — whenever they may be.

Until next Tuesday . . .