Is a party theme a good thing or a bad thing?

On one hand, it seems like having a focal point for the gathering could take away any guesswork as to what to wear, like the Wild West gathering of the Ocean Beach Education Foundation this year. That was a no-brainer, and easy to get hats and boots and vests to blend into the crowd.

On the other hand, a theme could, theoretically, keep some people from attending, if they didn’t feel they had the right duds, or costume, to fit in.

This question is one I’ve pondered about this time for the past 28 years. Seriously. I have had a Christmas gathering every year since I bought the house I live in, and some years I go with a theme, and some years I don’t.

So I took a good look at “This Day in History” for my tentative party date to get some inspiration. And then I started laughing. My mind is so… so… Well, let me explain just how strangely my mind works (if that’s possible!).

On my target date in 1992, Arthur Ashe was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, so everyone could come dressed in tennis clothes. In December. Blackface optional.

In 1973, Pirates of the Caribbean opened at Disney World. I have one friend who would really love that, and I briefly considered a red and green parrot motif, but somehow pirates don’t just say “Christmas” to me like they should.

The San Francisco Fire Department replaced leather helmets with plastic ones in 1969. Red suspenders for everyone—or would that just make us all look like Santa Claus? And oxygen tanks might not be the best thing around all my candles anyway.

In 1966, John Mecom Jr. became the first owner of the New Orlean Saints. I’ve another friend who would love to attend sporting all her purple and gold gear, which happens to be the same colors as the UW, so easily duplicated here, but that LSU grad will be away this holiday season.

General Eisenhower got his fifth star in 1944, and there’s plenty of camo clothing and gold braid available at thrift shops, but I’m afraid too many generals might spoil the fun, so this year any stars will stay strictly on the tree.

Now we’re all the way back to 1939. The date “Gone with the Wind” premiered in Atlanta. There’s some definite hoop-skirted and top hat potential here, but bad southern accents are not my idea of a northern gal’s “Holly Jolly Christmas.”

So I guess it’s a good thing the Beatle’s released “Christmas Time is Here Again” on my selected date in 1967. You can’t really mess that one up—unless you still don’t understand why “O-U-T spells out.”