Just the other day, I glanced over my December calendar and thought things were looking a bit sparse this year. I had a few parties on there, and a few family events scheduled around the big day itself, but overall things were looking pretty mellow.

I should have been happy to leave things as they were, but I’ve been in such a whirlwind stress mode for the past several months — selling our house, living with in-laws, buying, fixing up, and moving into the new house all while dealing with the ups and downs of pregnancy — that I decided I needed to keep the whirlwind going a bit longer. It seemed like a good idea to have a little holiday gathering for a few of my old girlfriends. And then I thought I’d do an open house to meet all the new neighbors on my block. And now I’m thinking that my friend Karen and I, who both have December birthdays, should throw some kind of joint birthday bash.

I suppose this is simply what happens when you take a social butterfly and night owl like myself and confine her to mocktails and early evenings for nine months. I feel a bit out of place at my normal hangouts (watering holes, concert venues, dance clubs) so I’ve become Holly Homemaker and I’m bringing the party to my house. Only problem? I don’t have a ton of experience in the fine art of suburban socialization. I’m not known as a fabulous cook. I don’t have enough seating or dishes to feed more than twelve people at once (and that’s if I break out the china), and unfortunately, I don’t have the budget to hire a caterer. Three times.

So. I’m thinking of ways to keep these events simple. I’ll ask the girls to bring something and we’ll have a potluck girls’ night. For the open house, I’m hoping that cookies and appetizers and one easy hot dish should suffice so long as I make it for mid-afternoon. And for the birthday bash? I’ll just have to fall back into an old habit. We’ll be going out to a nice proper restaurant and bar for that one.

Suggestions? Recipes? Advice on where to pick up a good set of decent folding chairs? Hit me back below – I’d appreciate it.