It was a throwaway, a gem of maternal wisdom as I drove my mother home, past a row of handsome houses dwarfing their own front lawns. I was on my way to meet a friend for coffee at my local paper cup coffee chain.
Why does your generation in all these decorated houses always meet in coffee shops? Why don’t you meet in your own home?
It’s just a quickie, Mom-we’re in between meetings. No one has time.
That was years ago, or a few thousand coffee cups sipped in a caffeine timeline. Was it the prompt for my morning holiday coffee party? Maybe. Then again, stuffing our space with friendly fire is old habit.
Come for a cup of cheer, says our invitation for a December event held here yearly. Leave a little of yourself behind, the part we leave out. Walls store warmth. Every guest leaves an imprint.
The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Hosting any kind of gathering offers a pitstop for wandering spirits seeking shelter. Yes, I mean you.
Inside my door, we practise the ancient art of conversation.
No Pinterest, smart phones, pods, pads or ear plugs. Just coffee mugs.
Sophisticated menus are saved for another time-here it’s about the dunking cookie.
Muffins and scones our grandmothers would recognize…
Hands need to be free…
After years of hosting women only for this event, this year we went co-ed. Call it a test to debunk old theories.
Women talk about stuff on the way to the valet that it takes men 10 years to admit to each other. The depth at which women talk to and about each other is invaluable to me. With your really, really close good friends you do that fast. Not that I’m saying men aren’t emotionally deep and don’t have access to their emotions, but I have two young sons and I’ve been around men my whole life in comedy and it’s fascinating what they don’t talk about.
-Amy Poehler, Vanity is the death of comedy
For all the doubters in my posse, I’ll grant that the shape might have changed yet nobody stomped on our merry little tribe. Volume and pitch aside, the event is much the same exercise: a little treat, a lot of talk, a heap of goodwill, or at least enough to throw sparkle on the exhaustive holiday marathon.
Having my other half help host meant double the anticipation, double the clean-up help (yup, he does floors) and double the guests, more than one of them a peach.
Fact quibblers will point out it isn’t the first time men have crashed this party. My dad shows up yearly, one gent among the dames. He’s no fool.
The Children’s Book Bank in Toronto still needs your help. Consider it for your own event. Warm up the walls.