A Curious Case Indeed.
Holiday riches

The Question of the Unexpected Guest

This afternoon I was making fudge. This was a challenge, as Sophia simply Would Not be put down today. Dad had taken the boys away for an adventure (one that included both candle making AND poking a fire - I don't ask), so it was just me and Princess Pick-Me-Up.

There I was, with a baby slung on my hip, my left breast stippled with tiny fingerprints in marshmallow cream, and every surface in my kitchen covered with cooking detritus (this does not require quite as much detritus as you might think).

With the boys gone the house was far too quiet, so I turned on the TV for background noise, and I ended up half listening to a cooking show. The host was giving suggestions for appetizers and drinks that you could throw together in a hurry for those unexpected guests.

Unexpected guests, I mused. Who ARE these fabled unexpected guests?

Seriously, it seems like every Holiday Hospitality article I have ever read has tips for dealing with these people. WHO ARE THEY? And what sort of power do they wield, that people feel obligated to bust out a full buffet for them when they do drop in randomly? If a friend of mine showed up, unannounced, I wouldn't feel guilty that I hadn't lit candles before I answered the door. I'd say, "OH, hey! Come on in. Just sort of...kick those toys to the side. Would you like some...um...Cheerios and mango? Because I have some stuck to my shirt, right here." I might offer to make some tea (I find most occasions can only be improved by tea). But for the most part, hey, this is my life. If you want the pretty picture version of it, let me know you're coming. Even then, no guarantees, am I right, Amy?

But I don't find that to be a problem, because I seriously cannot remember the last time I had unexpected visitors. It seems to happen with maddening regularity in the world of magazine writers and TV hosts, but IT NEVER HAPPENS TO ME.

Do the Unexpected Guests hate me? Am I the only one they're not terrorizing with their hospitality spot-checks? Am I UNPOPULAR? Do they visit everyone except me?

These are the questions that would keep me up at night if I weren't currently so sleep deprived that I doze through red lights.



ROFL @ "OH, hey! Come on in. Just sort of...kick those toys to the side. Would you like some...um...Cheerios and mango? Because I have some stuck to my shirt, right here"

Oh, heavens, this is ME!!! Thanks for the early-morning laugh, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Lisa in NJ

I never have unexpected guests. I guess I'm not loved either LOL. I love your Cheerios line, made me laugh. Have a Merry Christmas!!!!

Amma Always

You are sleep deprived! Don't you remember all those times we dropped in, stood around interrupting your current endeavors and beaming at whatever kid happened to ricocheting off of us at the moment? I must say, we often lay awake into the night (until at least 9:05) agonizing about the lack of surprising and tasty comfits and fresh vintage Izze in crystal goblets, of tastefully arranged flowers and candles. But we do like the mango.


You are too funny. Apparently being sleep deprived agrees with you. I never have
unexpected guests either, must not be loved.


Was going to unexpectedly drop in later today, but changed my mind after reading this.
Just kidding - I have had unexpected company, and once they kicked the crap off the couch and I found the coffee pot, we had a great time. I am glad though, it was just once.


You are so right. And have I ever told you how impressed I am that you can even offer tea in the midst of your household's goings on? Mighty impressive. I never even notice the mango! And seriously, between three adorable boys and one adorable baby girl, and the chance there might be freshly-baked cookies, I'm just now wondering why I don't show up unannounced more often. Today might be good. (That doesn't count as announced.) Hmm.


My mom is my only unexpected guest and she usually stops by unexpectedly on Saturday mornings, so I know to possibly expect her. I guess I don't have unexpected guests either. Darn it.


I have often mused about my lack of Unexpected Guests. I am happy to know that I am not the only person without that problem.

As for Princess Pick-Me-Up: I had a baby daughter of the same demeanor. My salvation was a baby carrier backpack. I wore it around the house constantly for many months and she was very content. And you can't beat vacuuming with a 25-pound baby on your back for a good work-out. Just try not to think about what your hair might look like as she drools on it and plays with it.


I can remember earlier this year 9 people showing up unexpectedly, initiated by my dad, who had a good time even without the customary cheerio and mango hors d' oeuvres.

I think that the only thing unexpected guests can be guaranteed at our house is interesting and thoughtful conversation. That is enough.


I'm announcing now that I will be in town for the holidays....whether or not that means that I'll be able to drop by announced or un remains to be seen. Merry Christmas my dear friends!

Mary Jo

I never see those people either. The most unexpected guest we've had was my mom when my house was a pigsty lol. She didn't mind.


I really wish my life allowed me to drop in unexpectedly. Throwing that chaos grenade into your life is so much fun.

Just wait. I mean, it won't be a decade that starts with a 1 or anything, but eventually....


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