The tables are covered in Christmas-themed linens. Twinkling lights abound, from the Christmas tree to the tops of storage shelves that sport Santa decor and pretty green curtains.
This is Martha Miller’s party room. It also happens to be her four-car garage at her Pleasant Hill home.
“We decorate the day after Thanksgiving, and I don’t take it down until almost New Year’s,” says Miller, who gets help from her family. “There’s 32 of us when we have our Christmas dinner and Christmas gift exchange.”
While they’ll hold their family Christmas gathering in the space, it’s by no means the only celebration her garage has seen. For years she hosted a Christmas brunch open house for folks in the community, doing the majority of the cooking herself. Bridal and baby showers, birthdays and anniversaries have also been held here.
But it’s Christmastime that holds a particularly special place in Miller’s heart. In fact, she and her husband, Gene, played Santa and Mrs. Claus for 50 years, entertaining everywhere from churches and daycares, to family gatherings.
“Christmas is my favorite, favorite time,” Miller says. “It’s my go-go power. I love doing it. and I love making people happy. And they eat it up.”
Miller threw many various parties at their former home next door, before moving into their current house 10 years ago, she says. When designing their new home, they made sure it was handicapped accessible, making it easier for them to get around as they got older.
Miller also wanted a garage she could entertain in. The space is outfitted with heat and air and a specially finished concrete floor. A refrigerator, deep freezer and neatly organized party supplies on storage shelves are all conveniently at hand. Long tables are stored in a corner, and Miller has some 150 folding chairs, which are stored in her basement.
The party schedule is very calm this year, she says. One reason is that she recently stopped holding her longtime Christmas brunch open house, after her husband said it was too much work for her.
Regardless, her philosophy for entertaining in her home remains the same.
“If you have a house, you should use it, and you should share it with other people, too,” she simply says.
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or Darren@dmcityview.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”