The envelopes are addressed and the invitations are going in the mail today — a full two weeks later than I had planned, but that’s about the speed I’m going at right now. Which means I should have Christmas ready around January 9th. I’m happy with the invitations, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I really need to start hiring out all family design needs — Christmas cards, invitations, baby announcements — because I can never spend as much time on them as I’d like to.

I LOVE our annual Christmas Recital. It started when we were pretty newly married, and it occurred to us how many of our friends happened to be excellent musicians, so why not host a Christmas party where everyone performs? The trained musicians perform something impressive and the rest of us perform something. Else. There has been a banjo. There has been an accordian. There was a reading featuring things overheard while window shopping in the city. And another reading of David Sedaris. There was a coreographed dance involving a dog and santa hat. There was a rap. There is usually lots of group singing, because if you haven’t come prepared, you get to pick a carol for everybody to sing together.

It is wonderful to see friends show off talents I never knew existed. And because I’m not an exclusive sort of person, we try to host it as close to Christmas as possible. That way, we can invite everybody who might be remotely interested — way more people than we can actually fit into the house — knowing that half of them will end up leaving town for the holidays.

We’ve held it every year but last year, when I was too darn morning sick to care. And this year, for the first time, we are holding the recital at a wonderful friend’s house, because it’s outgrown our own clumsy space.

Ben and I always give the first performance. We’re pretty bad, but we try to do a real piece — something involving some harmony. Even though we practice, our performance is usually unimpressive. This (hopefully) gives the party a well-if-they-can-stumble-through-that-performance-our-song-will-be-a-piece-of-cake feel.

I’m so looking forward to this party. And so delighted Julie and Bill offered to host it in their beautiful home.