December is, without a doubt, party season. Those weeks in the lead up to Christmas are all twinkly lights, and carols playing, and people keen to make plans before the cold and dark of January descends. My Decembers have often featured work Christmas parties, parties at home on Christmas Eve, and a good few days of family and pyjamas and party leftovers. I wouldn’t swap it for anything; I love being busy in December. But the other thing that is great at Christmas is the odd night with no commitments, no expectations.
Personally, I like to plan ahead for January. I like to keep the lights up a little longer, and make some cosy party plans for the first months of the year. Winter this year promises to be harder than ever – increasingly more expensive in terms of both food and energy costs, with more people in the UK than ever before in poverty. I know that talking about parties might seem flippant, might seem to have missed the challenges that people are facing.
What I’m saying is that you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to host a party. Parties aren’t only elaborate feasts, or fancy canapes. Instead I’m suggesting dips and crisps, pots of pasta, unfussy, hand-formed fruit tarts. Maybe a roast chicken. I’m suggesting casual house parties that bring people and warmth into your home, baking some buns and bringing them out at teatime, dinner parties with friends you didn’t see enough of over Christmas. I’m suggesting keeping lamps lit and lights low, putting some music on, and lighting a bunch of candles. I’m suggesting bringing some joy and brightness into the darkest months. I’m suggesting a January with a couple of parties to look forward to.