Smelly Socks: Christmas party fun for kids and adults

Dec. 26, 2013 at 6:26 a.m.

When Joe and I were single with no kids, we enjoyed throwing dinner parties, having people over, talking, drinking some wine, maybe playing a board game, etc.

We used to plan out elaborate meals and special appetizers that took all day to make. However, all that came to a halt when the boys and dogs came along. It was more like if people wanted to come over, we'd grill in the summer or order pizza in the winter.

But now that the boys are older, we had the bright idea - with everything else going on this holiday season, and the countdown to Christmas being so short - that we should have a Christmas holiday party.

I spent weeks combing Pinterest for just the right appetizers, desserts and table decorations and spent too many times driving back and forth to the grocery store, craft store and home improvement store, all in the hopes of making this party just right.

My first order of business was to make the basement of our home the kids' station. I knew that a lot of the people we'd be inviting to the party had kids, and it just wasn't fair to make them find babysitters at this busy time; plus, I'd have Adam and Charlie at the house, too. Boy, were they looking forward to having a lot of kids in the house.

So I made sure the basement was clean, organized and stocked with toys and games. The door to the crawl space was locked, and I had hired my niece to babysit for them. Snacks were ready and available, pizza was ordered, and the Wii game system was at the ready.

As the invitations went out via email - yes, technology is easier and more accepted nowadays - the guests with kids were responding with a resounding yes; their kids would be attending as well. As each response came in, two more kids kept getting added to the mix. First four, then six, then 10 and finally ending up with 13 kids in an 10- by 8-foot basement.

As the adults were busy laughing, talking and mingling upstairs, their kids were wrestling, playing Wii, getting locked in the basement bathroom, accidentally dropping pizza on the carpet, (it's an old carpet that needs to be replaced anyway) drinking way, way too many Capri Suns and having the time of their lives.

When they did come upstairs to grace us with their presence, almost every one of them had rosy cheeks and a slightly sweaty head. Once in a while, we heard a scream or two but figured if there was no blood or broken bones, they'd be OK.

Granted it was 10 boys and three girls, but the girls could really hold their own, even beating the boys in some of the video games. They came upstairs only twice: once when they ran out of Capri Suns and then again when they saw that the cupcakes were put out for the party. One by one, they would saunter upstairs and ask politely for a cupcake and then run downstairs with their sugary treat.

As for the adult party, I think it went pretty well. After much stressing, many deep breaths on my part and a few times of just throwing my arms up in the air. It seemed like everyone had a good time. They laughed, ate, drank and had a good time, knowing that their kids were downstairs enjoying themselves, as well.

Adam and Charlie came to me later that evening and asked when were we going to have the next party? I have not yet fully recovered from this one, and they are already planning the next one?

Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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