The Christmas Party That Wasn’t


For the first time in 30 years, we didn’t have our Christmas party. We had a small gathering with our family of six, but it just wasn’t the same.

my-100-year-old-home-Christmas Party

What a difference a year makes.

A year ago I was so busy! We were hosting 250 people for our Christmas party and I had actually prepared all of the food. 

Our home was decorated and looked amazing and yet that wasn’t even the craziest thing that happened that day.

Christmas Party Set Up

Somehow the LA Times discovered my blog and asked if they could do a feature story on me, my brand, and our Christmas party.

Oddly enough, the article came out on the day of our party. You can read it here.

And so many friends brought me copies.

Christmas Party LA Times Article

That was the year 2019.

This year, of course, we didn’t have our “real” party.


Instead, the six of us (my husband and I, our three sons, and my daughter-in-law) got all dressed up last Saturday night.

And we had our own “little” party.

Christmas on Oak Street

It wasn’t quite the same.

And yet, the house was decorated and the fireplace was lit.

Christmas Living Room

The food was cooked but in much smaller quantities.

We started with champagne and moved on to cocktails and wine.

We ate the crabcakes and the appetizers and most of the desserts.

Christmas Party

We talked and laughed and relaxed.

Just like every year before.

Ok, maybe not.

A lot of things were different. 

Christmas decor

I didn’t have a Color-coded Spreadsheet. (If you don’t know what that is, it’s the secret to how I manage to cook for 250 people.) Click here for the full story.

I also didn’t start cooking until the day of the party. Normally I cook for two and a half weeks. Why is that? Because I normally cook 17 appetizers and six desserts. Here is what my kitchen normally looks like on the day of our party.


Would you like a copy of all of my Christmas party recipes? Just click here for all of them. This is my gift to all of you!

Also, normally I freeze a bunch of vodka bottles in milk cartons. This photo is from last year.

Christmas Party Vodka Freezing

After they freeze and you take off the milk cartons, they look like this. (If you want to learn how to do this, click for my blog post here.)


This year we didn’t buy a ton of alcohol. We actually didn’t buy any. Dave jokes that we usually overbuy so much that the alcohol lasts until about July of the following year. This year we ran out of vodka during our party for six.

We missed our friends. I have always felt like our party was my gift to all of our friends. But not this year.

None of us woke up with a hangover on Sunday morning.

Sport and Dug got to come to the Christmas party. This was their first. Normally they hang out upstairs and bark occasionally. Okay, maybe they bark a lot.

There were no leftovers! Normally I have enough hors d’oeuvres and desserts to last throughout the entire holiday season. Unfortunately, there were none and this was a serious problem. With my boys!

These were the desserts from last year. Yum!

Christmas Party Desserts on Packages

Technically this was our 30th Annual Christmas party.

But it really wasn’t.

It just didn’t feel like it counted. So I am skipping 2020 and next year will be the 30th anniversary of our Christmas party.

Someone once joked that So. Pas. (short for South Pasadena) actually stood for, “So, Party at Saetas!”.

I cannot wait until next year.

Pin the image below to your Entertaining or Christmas decor boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!

The Christmas Party That Wasn't

For more real-time updates, follow me on Instagram @My100YearOldHome

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  1. I was flying home last nite and actually saw the movie The Way Back and then realized this was your house!!! I then remember a mention either in your blog or Instagram about the movie being filmed at your house. Merry Christmas and may you have a blessed safe New Year!!!

  2. Thank you, Leslie, for all of your hard work and inspiration. I wish you and your family and very safe and Merry Christmas!

  3. It’s funny Leslie, I have thought about you not having your party so many times this holiday season. Probably since I am local, I feel invested, So sorry, I always enjoy you sharing all deets leading up. the weather was fabulous for the party(of 6) this year!!

    May you all have a blessed Christmas!

    2021 will be an amazing year for all!!…..speak it!!!

  4. Thank you for sharing, what looks like some fabulous recipes! Can’t wait to try them. So glad I found you because I love your style. I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season!! 🎄🎅🏼🎁🎄

  5. I have enjoyed and attempted several of the lovely Christmas crafts you have shared. Your party for 6 sounded amazing and the one for 250 astounding. Do you rent the dishes you use for the party or do paper. Thank you for the recipes. I do plan to make several for you make everything sound simple. May this be a joyful restful Christmas for you and yours and 2021 be filled with blessings.

  6. Ah I know just how you feel – we didn’t get to do our big fall party this year either. And we did what you did, only just the two of us. Not the same at all, but your house was beautiful and the dogs were happy – what more could you ask for if you can’t have all your friends?! 🙂 Thanks for the recipes today, and the inspiration always! Hope you have a lovely Christmas!

  7. So lets go to the frozen vodka bottles with milk carton sleeves. How long after you remove them from the freezer does the ice holder with cranberries etc stay frozen? We’ve learned to keep it simple this year Leslie and for a good reason. But next year ought to have some special times where we really make up for lost time🎄
    Merry Christmas to the Saeta’s.

  8. Leslie, it may have been the Christmas party that wasn’t for 250 people, but it was the family party that mattered the most for 6. And that’s what counts the most. You are a blessing to your family and a blessing to all of us who get to be a part of your incredible creative life. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  9. What a beautiful home, will try some of the amazing looking recipes, looking forward to seeing more thank you for sharing 🇨🇦

  10. Oh my goodness. I just discovered your blog and the first post I read was about your party. This would have/should have been our 36th annual Christmas party. We have about 300 people and like you, I make all the food. And like you, there is enough to last through New Years and sometimes I can pull some out of the freezer for the Super Bowl. And we always seem to overstocked on liquor too! I feel like you are my Christmas party soul sister! So, instead of our party, I made sweet treats and delivered them to our guest list the day before and morning of the day our party would have been with a note asking everyone to raise a glass to friendships during the time our party would have been! I look forward to following you!

  11. I can relate, although on a much smaller scale. Every year on Christmas Eve, we host a party for friends, neighbors and family, which ends up being about 35-40 people. I love to cook so I do the bulk of the appetizers and desserts, although lately, some of my friends and my sister like bringing dishes they are ‘famous’ for. We provide the bar and one of my friends was a bartender in college so he takes charge of that. It has been our tradition for decades but this year it did not happen. Thanks COVID-19. Our Christmas Eve group this year totaled SEVEN. It was not what I wanted, for sure, but after I struggled with my disappointment, I rallied, planned a completely different evening for my family and we made it work. Next year I sure hope we can go back to our usual tradition. Love your decor and ideas!

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