Filoli Holiday Dinner
stands for “Fight, Love and Life”, the key words of the credo of Mr. Bourn, prominent San Franciscan and owner of the Empire Mine. Built in 1917 as a palla
dian mansion, the estate called Filoli is now part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and it hosts one of my favorite gardens in the whole Bay Area. The house usually closes right after their Autumn Days for the duration of the winter. Only during the week after Thanksgiving does Filoli repoen its doors for a week-long series of holiday festivities. Children’s parties, brunch buffets, day and night shopping events, you name it. My favorite though is the evening dinner gala. It’s now my fourth and it’s as enjoyable as ever.First, you get to dress up. When I say dress up, it’s not just casual cocktail dresses. No, no. This year had its fair share of sequined platinum blondes, gold satin gowns and shiny tops. I was wearing a long dress, as was
my friend Inga and our boys were in tuxedos (Lisa went for a see-through black and white blouse with black pants ). We are usually the babies of the evening as Filoli tends to attract grey heads rather than young party animals. Granted, the whole thing is a bit cheesy. There’s a jazz/swing orchestra in the ballroom, the (fabulous) Mountain View college choir at the intermission, a sit-down dinner, players on the grand piano in the entrance, fabulous Christmas trees throughout the house, items for sale everywhere and champagne flowing like crazy. That being said, if you bring enough friends to have your own table and if you like to dance, this is ideal.
Going through the rooms, I couldn’t help but admire the decoration and objects that my girls would have loved. Candles shaped like pyramids of Victorian cakes, S’mores-shaped lollipops, fake birds tree ornaments of all colors and the dining room set as a Victorian train room with baby doll in a cradle. If only for that sight and the trains going around the tracks on the parquet, I should bring my girls to the children’s parties next year.