When I was growing up, there was an ad with the tag line, "The Hostess with the Mostest." I have always wished that I was that hostess. The problem - well, one of them, anyway - is that I want to accomplish this with minimal effort. Or, failing that, I want it to look effortless. I want my house to be spotless (like my mother's), my table to be beautiful (like my grandmother's), my food to be delicious (like my Aunt Mary Jane's) and my home to be warm and welcoming. Lived-in look aside, I think I accomplish the last one but the others remain out of reach, with or without effort.
The second problem is that, global person that I am, I always fail to account for the number of details that must be taken care of in order for me to be that hostess. The corollary to that problem is that I never allow enough time to take care of all of those details.
All of this leads to me being a crazy person the day before I have offered to host something. I have tried starting early. I have tried business as usual up until I can't do so any longer. I have tried lowering my standards. While the last one seems to work the best for me, it drives my husband crazy.
It would seem that the simple solution is to stop hosting these events. But, as in the case of Easter dinner, I enjoy the events themselves. Once all of the preparations have been made (or at least as many as I have gotten to), I enjoy the company of my guests. And when they leave, I am sad, but heartened by the fact that my house is as clean as I aspire for it to be, but rarely accomplish without some sort of, er, nudge.
And so I keep throwing parties. They are casual, come as you are events, not elegant affairs with china and crystal. Despite the fact that perfection remains put of reach, I am always glad I have chosen to be the hostess, with or without the mostest.
Because after all, the guest list is the most important part of any party.
P.S. If you can remember the ad I am talking about - especially the product represented - please leave me a comment. A Google search turned up only pages of unrelated items with no recollection of the ad in question, and I closed my browser when I began to feel like a dinosaur.