This Saturday we’ll host our annual holiday party, also known as Cheesemas. How that party got to this point is a long story.
Ann and I moved to the Bay Area is early 2005. We didn’t know many folks and didn’t have much of a social schedule. Phil Michaels and Lisa Schmeiser were recently married and moved to town not long after us. Phil being my boss, we talked frequently and wasn’t long before he and Lisa invited the wife and I over for dinner. We got along great.
We would go to their Alameda house for three types of events: sports, election coverage, holiday. Phil and I both being baseball and soccer fans, sports was our maintstay. Election coverage was also a good annual treat. I remember watchin both Schwarzenegger’s Calif. governor re-election and Obama’s big win at Casa Schmichaels.
But Cheesemas was our crown jewel. Our holiday franchise.
Lisa sent us a holiday invite in 2005/6 for ‘cheesemas.’ We came over, ate cheese, and guzzled adult beverages. Phil and Lisa - both being professional media consumers and reviewers - said they had a horribly fantastic holiday movie that we should watch. Rob Lowe’s ‘The Christmas Shoes’ was queued up and followed by surly, obscene poetry.
Cheesemas has been our primary holiday event ever since. It follows a very rigid agenda: Invite adults to join for cocktails. Everyone brings a cheese-y dish to share. Get everyone primed with a few drinks before we fire up the holiday special for the British clay-mation classic Creature Comforts. All good holiday stuff.
Refreshments refilled we move on to the feature presentation. The Christmas Shoes is a horribly predictable and cliché holiday stinker. It’s a movie based on a cheesy holiday song by a Christian rock band. No joke. But it’s Rob Lowe’ first project after he left ‘West Wing’ so you know he’s at the height of his carrer, right? No chance. It’s a terrible movie and we spend 90 minutes heckling the entire script and all associated with it.
Phil wrote a seminal review of the film. Well worth reading.
And so goes the story of Cheesemas. This Saturday Ann and I will welcome a new crowd of adults to our Portland home. The location is new, but we hope the long-established and beloved tradition lives on.