The Exhausting Rewards of Holiday Entertaining

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By Erika Weisensee
Milwaukie mom, writer

On Saturday night, while fussing over place settings at my dining room table in preparation for the next day’s Easter dinner, I had one of those I’m-becoming-my-mother moments. She is known for her beautiful (and a bit obsessive) holiday decorating; my mom has always gone to great lengths to make every holiday special. I am attempting to do the same.

My husband and I are making an effort to host more events, hopefully, taking some of the work away from our mothers. It is so satisfying to see happy faces celebrating in our home and dining on food we prepared. But, wow! Hosting an event, even for a group of 10, is totally exhausting. I knew this already but was reminded of it Sunday night when our happy guests went home and I plopped down on the bed. I began to drift off, then remembered the mountain of dishes and dirty floors. I got the mess slightly under control, but saved most of it for the next day. To be completely honest, I still have things to put away.

Over the years, my mother has frequently thrown her back out while dusting and vacuuming and decorating for holidays. My mother-in-law, a terrific party thrower, can also work herself into exhaustion when preparing for an event. In my family, we have our share of casual gatherings (burgers on paper plates), but we go all out for the major holidays—washing china and polishing silver and folding napkins and arranging flowers and I’m not even to the cooking yet. And, the baking! Oh, the baking! What a MAJOR production! Does this sound at all familiar to you?

So, why do we do it?  Quite simply because it brings smiles to the faces of people we love. The details we all fuss over help create the memories we cherish years later, the memories our children will try to replicate for their own families. It is tiring, but it is certainly worth it.

### Erika Weisensee, a writer and native Oregonian, lives in Milwaukie and teaches journalism and communication courses at the University of Portland.