Am I suddenly in the middle of a 1940s Christmas musical? I wondered.
Images of Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” danced in my head as Alexis walked around her house, dreaming up ideas for her holiday-party decor. “We’ll base all the decorations on the Christmas songs that will be playing,” she mused.
My part in this: a personal shopper and brainstorming partner.
“Let’s start with my favorite,” she said, “Nat King Cole’s ‘Christmas Song.’” “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire/ Jack Frost nipping at your nose/ Yuletide carols being sung by a choir/ And folks dressed up like Eskimos,” she sang.
“Who gets to be the Eskimos?” I teased.
Alexis was too far down creative lane to hear. “We’ll have a fire pit with chestnuts roasting as guests arrive,” she continued ($3.99 a pound for chestnuts at Sprouts). “Oh, the weather outside is frightful/ But the fire is so delightful/ And since we’ve no place to go/ Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”
“Snow will be falling on the people as they walk in.” (Snow machine, $139 per day at sandiegokidspartyrentals.com; 858-272-2700.) “We’ll hide the machine on the roof.”
“Gotta love Christmas in California — bring on the fake snow,” I joked.
“In the foyer will sit a peacock-feather tree,” she continued. (Christmas Peacock Tree, $39 for a 20-inch tree on Amazon.)
“Of course,” she grinned, “you can slip into a sexy Santa outfit [Velvet & Marabou Off-Shoulder Dress, $40 at fredericks.com] and sing ‘Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree for me/ I’ve been an awful good girl, Santa baby/ And hurry down the chimney tonight.’”
“No, thank you,” I replied. “How about a costume for Fifi?” Fifi is Alexis’s maltipoo (Maltese/poodle). “Ruldoph the red-nosed reindeer/ Had a very shiny nose...”
“I’ll find a reindeer outfit for her.” (Top Paw reindeer coat, $16.99–$17.99 at petsmart.com.)
“And, speaking of glowing, I saw a mirrored star at World Market Cost Plus that you can hang above the dessert table,” I added. ($14.99 for the Moravian mirrored star with 12-inch hanging chain.) “Star of wonder, star of night/ Star with royal beauty bright/ Westward leading, still proceeding/ Guide us to thy perfect light....”
“My husband doesn’t consider it the holidays without singing ‘Deck the Halls’ and ‘Twelve Days of Christmas,’” I said. “Better add those to the playlist.” “Deck the halls with boughs of holly…”
“We’ll bring in holly for Pat,” she said. (Glittery silk holly spray stem, $4.99 at Cost Plus World Market.) “And some peacocks for a partridge in a pear tree. Peacocks are related to partridges,” she added. (Peacock clip ornaments at Pier One, $5.95, $10.95.) “On the first day of Christmas/ My true love gave to me/ A partridge in a pear tree...”
“We’re bringing in a pear tree?” I asked.
“A peacock-feather tree, smarty-pants.”
“Enough with the decorating, what will we be eating besides roasted chestnuts?”
“Figgy pudding, of course,” laughed Alexis. “Or how about plum pudding? I hate figs.” (Walkers Rich Fruit Pudding, $14.99 for 16 ounces at Cost Plus World Market.) “Now bring us some figgy pudding/ And a cup of good cheer!”
“And for the cup of good cheer, you mean wassail, of course,” I said. “Wassail! Wassail!/ All over the town/ Our toast it is white /And our ale it is brown.”
“Brown ale might be easier to find than wassail,” countered Alexis, “especially in beer-happy San Diego.” (Karl Strauss seasonal Full Suit Belgian-style brown ale, $8.49 for a six-pack at Beverages and More.)
“A lot of people, myself included, don’t really like beer,” I said. “How about blue Christmas cocktails?” “I’ll have a blue Christmas without you/ I’ll be so blue just thinking about you…” From grouprecipes.com: One ounce vodka or rum, half-ounce of blue Curaçao liqueur, and three ounces of white grape juice.
“Speaking of blue, it can’t be the holidays without some Charlie Brown Christmas music,” I added. “Christmas time is here/ Happiness and cheer/ Fun for all that children call/ Their favorite time of year.”
“We’ll have a door prize!” gasped Alexis. “The winner goes home with Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, with one red ornament and Linus’s blue blanket wrapped around the trunk!” (24-inch Charlie Brown Christmas tree with blanket, $29.90 on Amazon.)