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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Have a Harry Christmas

With December almost over, the holidays are upon us. This is a crazy busy month for me, because Christmas, my birthday, and several great events that I enjoy. This is a pretty Potter-centric time and I'd love to share pics with you.

Each year I choose a theme for my birthday. This is generally Harry Potter, because my house gets turned into Hogwarts for our big party in July and then transitions to fall, Halloween, Christmas, and then taken down after the 1st. These all seem like the most Hogwartsy seasons/holidays, so then we take a breather and be "normal" for 6-7 months before we begin again.

see how sparkly this is
Well, since each July party has a different theme, so does Halloween (though we skipped that party this year) and my birthday. Last year my birthday was a Yule Ball and this year I wanted to really do something cool and different, so I chose Slughorn's Christmas Party and invited the "Slug Club" to this exclusive party in his office. 

I redid our Common Room wall with potions posters and made a new, bigger mantel/fireplace to replace my old cardboard one. Our fireplace doesn't work and doesn't have a surround, so I use a fake one in front of it. This had quite a bit larger mantel, where I was able to stage Slughorn's celebrity photographs. 

Our tree had the addition of bubble lights and mini cauldrons to really bring in the potions elements. 

I also wanted to recreate his fabric tent feel without spending $95,000 and came up with a way to use lightweight gossamer instead of super expensive velvet, that made a statement piece with the "golden chandelier lit with fairies" I crafted with things I already had. Everyone was really impressed with it, so I guess I accomplished that feeling...and it didn't feel oppressive in my smallish living room. 

We don't have House Elves to carry around trays of food and drinks, but I slaved a bit to come up with a fun menu that had a Slughorn vibe to it. It included lamb chops, dragon balls (as a cheeky nod to the movie), bacon balsamic Brussell sprouts, mince pies, brandy beans, pumpkin juice, and mead. There was more than that, but you get the idea. Pretty much, all my food is a finger food, making it easy to mingle and play games.

We played Four On The Couch, pulled Christmas crackers that I made, had a mini potions class, had an owl counting challenge, and everyone went home with a Felix Felicis ornament that I also made, because that's my new tradition. Last year I made ornaments with chocolate frog cards with my face on it. It was a blast.

Eric channeling Slughorn and me Luna
The next night, I dressed up in different wizard attire to attend the third annual Yule Ball put on by our local chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, PDXpelliarmus (see what they did there?). It's always above and beyond, and this year was no exception. 

Eric and I spring for the Feast, so we get there at 5:30, make the rounds for photo ops, raffle table, and say hello to everyone, then sit down with new friends to an amazing dinner. Afterward, we dance!

The past two years they've had a live band, but just went with a DJ this time (DJ Switch has done the two previous balls as well). It was fantastic. He plays just the right mix of nerdy and old school dance music, as well as a few new songs that everyone loves. 

This year there was also an amazing group there called the PDX Dancing Witches who graced us with two unique performances. A Dementor showed up as well, but luckily there were Aurors in the building to fix that situation. LOL!

The whole Yule Ball is put on to raise money for charity. Since the HPA works towards literacy and equality, this year went to a charity called KIND, Kids In Need of Defense, that helps kids trapped at the border and separated from their parents with no help. Ticket proceeds go to that, as well as raffle proceeds. The HPA is run by volunteers and donations, so if you love Harry Potter, or just want to help those in need, consider helping out your local chapter, or donating online. Even your purchases on the web store help support charities and other great programs.

That's how my December is going. We're going to Die Hard: The Musical Parody after Christmas (another tradition for us) and I'm looking ahead to a different local Harry Potter event at a restaurant downtown in February. The 25th will see me, Eric, and my mom at the casino buffet, because no one wants to cook for 5 hours, followed by cleaning all the dishes.

How's your December going?

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