The Gudgel Family Advent Calendar, Day 16 — “Our annual Christmas party”


“If I wear a black suit and tie tonight will I be overdressed?” My friend Todd texted me this question yesterday afternoon as Sonja and I were getting ready for our annual Christmas party. “You’ll be substantially better dressed than I will,” I replied. I never quite know what Sonja tells people to wear in her Facebook invitations, given that I’m not on Facebook. Apparently “cocktail attire” was requested for this one, something I didn’t bother mentioning to the friends I invited via SMS.

Sonja and I have thrown this party for as long as we’ve been together, with a lapse last year when I think we were overwhelmed with figuring out how to raise two children. Sonja threw Christmas parties before we were together as well, so it’s a fairly long-standing tradition amongst many of our friends, and it’s really great to see everyone, especially those we rarely see otherwise.

I’m inclined here to spend an awful lot of time listing the names of people who came last night, probably about four dozen in total, and what I love about all of them.  Sonja and I have such terrific people in our lives, and I think that those people — along with our families, are what I am most grateful for. That being said, there’s something to be said for intimacy as well, and I’m not sure publishing a guest list online in 2018 is the brightest idea on my part. I will simply say that I was extremely grateful to those who came, and if I am permitted a regret it might be that there were so many people in our home last night at one time that I had very little time to have intimate conversations with most of them, which of course I would have liked to do. We did tell some stories, however, and share some laughs, and I would like to believe that I introduced some people to one another last night who may well become friends in time. We know so many truly fantastic humans. If you were among them, thank you so much for being a part of our celebration — and our lives.

I tend to go a bit overboard on drinks at these things, and last night was no exception to that rule.  In addition to a smorgasbord of cheeses, crackers, meats, candies and more, I set up a bar for folks to mix their own drinks, and Sonja’s mother provided some really wonderful spiced tea she makes this time of year. For wine, we had an Argentine Chardonnay that I really enjoy, my favorite brut Cava and, best of all, Meadowcroft Syrah 2014.  If you’re a regular here on itheewine then you’re well aware of how much I admire and appreciate Tom Meadowcroft. His Syrah, in particular, is fantastic for two reasons: first, it’s just a really nice, flavorful, aromatic, full-bodied red wine that tends to please everyone from wine snobs to those who don’t really care. Second, it’s about the best QPR on the market in my opinion, which makes serving a case of it at your Christmas party something I can get away with on my relatively tight budget. If you haven’t had this wine, I strongly suggest you seek it out. We drank far more of that than anything else last night, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.


Eventually, despite my very ambiguous and unhelpful guidance, Todd and his wife Michelle made it to our party, whereupon Todd and I discovered that we were wearing more or less the same thing. I guess that’s what I get, though of course he and I found it hilarious. If you were at our party last night, thank you, and we are grateful to you for being in our lives. And if you didn’t make it, well then we certainly hope to see you next year — and also many times before.

Cheers to the wonderful people who enrich our lives simply with their presence,


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