the party this year was held at em's house, because she has been reading about the them on here for years and, knowing that i don't have a permanent place in utah, as well as wanting to be a part of the legendary gala, offered her house back before i even knew if i would be in town or not.
true to form, em was a fantastic host. her house looked beautiful: decorations were tastefully trimmed around the rooms, there was Christmas music in the background, and the table was set out with snacks, chocolates, and gingerbread men (they were delicious....) i set to work making the egg nog in a kitchen that would have made alton brown proud, with em readily measuring out anything i needed. when i asked for nutmeg, she gave me the option of "ground" or "whole" and, wanting this to be the best, asked for "whole", to which she promptly set about grating a whole nutmeg... nut(?) i joked about the bourbon listed in the recipe and she pulled out a basket containing numerous little glass jars, handing me a small bottle imitation rum extract. i don't think it's any coincidence that mark declared this year's nog to be the best we've ever had (and everyone agreed.)
tim and lyndsie came just as we were finishing the nog. i had made enough for one serving for each guest i knew was coming, since mixing and pouring nearly a gallon (or more) of nog can get rather unwieldy and i didn't want to create any more of a mess than i already would be. so tim made me promise that i'd make some for them in minnesota. people were talking and laughing, lyndsie and mary joy were playing with the kids, and em and i were tidying up the kitchen. things were working out.
as is customary, i introduced everyone briefly, since they are all my friends but not everyone else knows each other (depending on the crowd, mark sometimes does.) from there we moved down to watch the movie. in an odd combination of my friends all wanting to be gracious and not take the couch, plus most of my friends are used to sitting on the floor while watching "the muppet's Christmas carol" at my parties, i was the only one on the couch, despite our hosts' repeated offerings.
now, one of the established rules of the muppet and nog party is that you sing along to the songs as best you can. when em was starting the movie, she asked if there was a sing-along option, something that i presume her family of boys enjoys. i had never given a thought to it and there wasn't such an option, but the closed captioning was something we soon wished we thought of years ago. suddenly, all of the words were on the screen and everyone was able to sing along. it was pretty dang awesome as we joined in the chorus of scrooge's opening song. and, as a further bonus, the captioning helped us catch a lot of off-handed jokes that even tim and i had never noticed before.
i did learn something interesting about the story (you knew this was coming, kristin): as the ghost of Christmas present is fading, it's apparent that scrooge has already had his change of heart. he pleads with the spirit to stay and to teach him more, declaring that he wants to be better. but his humility and willingness to repent do not excuse him from the third and most difficult lesson he still had to learn, perhaps to make this change permanent. i also like that the sad events he sees are what will be if things remain as they are, but that they do not have to be what he saw.
not only is it a fun muppet movie, it's a darn good movie period.
then, at kristin's request, an "american gothic" version.
and then, at someone else's odd request, one where we were all pointing at mark.
as kristin and i got in the car, she turned to me and said, "i think this has been one of my favorite muppet parties."