Michael and Susy Niven's home in Brentwood looks like a mountain retreat with its high beamed ceiling, stone fireplaces and Max, the gentle pooch, asleep on the sofa. With garlands draping paintings and mirrors, the house was steeped in Christmas charm for the 21st birthdays of Michael's twins, Andrea Niven and Michael Niven Jr., and Susy's daughter, Christina Speer.
What made the party so special was that the birthday trio, plus Susy's daughter Allison Speer, 20, and Michael's son Brett Niven, 17, had stayed up until 1 a.m. the night before baking and frosting Christmas cookies, and had decorated and hung the wreaths, lights and garlands.
They were all perfect hosts for the 70-plus guests coming to celebrate--Will and Libby Doheny and their two, William and Loren; Z. Wayne and Cynthia Griffin and their Tim; Tom and Elayne Techentin and Kristin; Carol and Warner Henry and their Katy and Michael; Marna Schnabel with Darrin and Evan; Allan and Joan Burns with Eric; Steve and Kitty Moses with Billy Keck, and Jackie Applebaum with Libby. Much fun.
IN WESTWOOD: Peter and Joan Eichler offered "a dram of Scotch, a pint of beer, a little shortbread to bring good cheer" for their marvelous Highland Fling. Tartans swirled from a white tent. And Joan saw to it that her beautiful grandchildren--the children of Clair and Peter Eichler and David and Elizabeth Hasbrouck--were in kilts and Scottish caps.
The children were mesmerized by the bagpiper, and a crowd of several hundred, in turn, was mesmerized by them. In the crowd: Jan and Bob Carpenter, Lynn and Hugh Evans, Kathleen and Tom McCarthy, Thad Up de Graff (Liz home with the flu), newlyweds Tripp and Teresa Power, Nick and Patty Weber, Harry and Barbara Sargeant, Clark and Joni Smith (he in Christmas trousers embroidered with trees and she in the flounciest red ruffled short skirt).
IN PASADENA: Patty and Roger Burschinger probably would win the prize for the prettiest Christmas tree in the Southland. It is decorated with more than 1,000 ornaments by Roger's master touch.
A crowd of several hundred marveled not only at the tree, but at the Buche Noel chocolate log, Patty's meringue chocolate mushrooms and the tamales during a fun gathering of mixed ages that included Joe, Danny, Peter and Patrick Burschinger, and Hunt and Megan Burschinger Williams, and friends.
Partying were Jayne and Roger Sullivan; Dorothy and John Shea with Maura and Matt; Judy and Harry McLaughlin; Mary Shea with Mary, Katie, Ellen and Ed Shea Jr.; Jud and Marilyn Roberts; Melinda Winston; Rosemary Mitchell and Carey.
HAPPIEST TIMES: Charles and Harriet Luckman radiated Christmas cheer at their penthouse party for friends, including Waller Taylor, Ed and Nadine Carson, Susie and Norm Barker, Marilyn McDaniel, Caltech's president Thomas and Doris Everhart . . .
Gump's J. Shelton Ellis Jr. hosted a holiday reception for supporters of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum to announce a $25,000 donation to the Dinosaur Ball. Among those accepting were ball co-chairs Ray and Nancy McCullough. Celebrating were Elaine and Kenneth Leventhal, Oscar Lawler, Liz Black (she and Craig hosted their own open house), Bruce and Mindy Byers . . .
The dining table was weighted for amiable cheer at Cheryl and Bill Doyle's open house for friends, including John and Wendy Siciliano, Dan and Joan Baker, and Diana Collins (soon off to Sun Valley skiing) . . .
The floors all but creaked for the huge group of friends Larry and Beverly Thrall invited to Hancock Park for their Christmas buffet--Jerry and Robin Parsky, Louise and Steve Griffith, Preston Martin . . .
Christmas cheer also was rampant when Marie and Lou Jones wished friends, including Barbara and Frank Jameson, Boyd and Jean Higgins, David and Joan Traitel and Jan and Bill Clayton, a merry Christmas . . .
In Beverly Hills, Barbara and Chuck Schneider were at the front door with cheery hellos for a houseful: Franklin and Judith Murphy, Jackie and Lloyd Cotsen, Tim and Terri Childs (they'll ski at Deer Valley for the holidays), Joe and Dorie Pinola (on their way to Sherwood Country Club for Lod and Carole Cook's black-tie do.)
WITH TINSEL: Carolyn and Maury DeWald and Esther and Tom Wachtell, in gratitude for the Music Center's Campaign '90 support, hosted friends and their families for a holiday sing-along with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, plus dinner in the Blue Ribbon Room . . .
Los Solteros (The Bachelors) brought in the Dickens Carolers for their Christmas Ball planned by R. Matthew Shannon, John S. McGovern, Don S. Dalis, Lloyd Segal and president Michael R. Fergoda at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The evening benefits Boys Republic . . .