The friendly mood of the festive season seems to have affected the top leaders of the NC and the Maoists, who have been using tea party diplomacy this week to patch up differences.
Even the body language of the troika (UML's Jhalnath Khanal, the NC's Girija Koirala and Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal) at the UML tea party on Wednesday was of bonhomie and camaraderie.
Although sharp differences remain, both within parties in the coalition and among each other, there seems to be a realisation that progress on governance and constitution-building can't happen in an atmosphere of acrimony and politics-as-usual.
NC leaders have said they have no intention of bringing down the government "for the next six months" but Koirala rejected overtures from the Maoists to join a consensus government.
"We need everyone on board to fulfill our immediate goals of keeping the peace process on track, to draft a new constitution and to spur rapid economic growth," Dahal told reporters on Wednesday. He added that the constitution-drafting process would start "before Tihar".
The more immediate hurdle could be the integration of the Maoist PLA into the national army. The main political players and the army brass seem to have agreed secretly on a very limited induction with a rehabilitation package for the rest of the combatants. But the real unknown is whether Dahal can sell that plan to his guerrilla commanders in UN-supervised cantonments.
Meanwhile, there are indications of further mellowing of the Maoist line. Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai, attending the World Bank/IMF annual meeting in Washington this week, surprised people there and in Nepal by saying his party was discussing dropping 'Maoist' from its name.
Bhattarai needed to make a good impression among members of the Washington Consensus because his budget has doubled the foreign aid component to nearly $950 million. However, Nepal's main donors say they are still skeptical about absorptive capacity, populist cash handouts to VDCs and cooperatives as well as unmonitored disbursement for Maoist cadres.