Merry and Bright

A no-fuss holiday party is a chance to celebrate and enjoy your loved ones.

Any moment now, a crowd of people will descend on Jayne Robertson's house in Palm Springs, California, but Robertson isn't frazzled. She moves aside furniture to arrange a circle of chairs and cushions by the fireplace, sets a table for food, puts out hot water and a selection of teas, lights candles, and awaits her guests.

Every year during this most frenetic of seasons, Robertson, a yoga teacher, and her husband, Ed, host a winter solstice party for their friends from the yoga studio. Robertson's recipe for stress-free entertaining is equal parts simplicity and community. "We do it as a vegetarian potluck," she says. "It's an extraordinarily busy time of year, so this is a nice way of gathering—we're relaxed when people arrive, and it takes some of the pressure off hosting."

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But time is one thing we have been given, and we have been given to time. Time gives us a whirl. We keep waking from a dream we can’t recall, looking around in surprise, and lapsing back, for years on end. All I want to do is stay awake, keep my head up, prop my eyes open, with toothpicks, with trees.” –Annie Dillard