A Look at Holiday Gatherings

Well, Christmas is over, but for many who attended an office Christmas party the gossip and scandals have only just begun. There's always some poor drunken fool who gets carried away by the spirit of the season and jumps at the chance to drop the office etiquette and lets his hair hang down (a bit too low). Check out the inebriated boss swilling around on the floor tugging at his employees' legs - will there be mild embarrassment and apologies the next work day? or simply a pretense it never happened?

Maybe I'm getting old, but I'd rather be at ABBA's Christmas party. Just a low key party with a few friends and loved ones, good food and some tasty beer. It being 1972, I'm sure there was fondue somewhere - man, I loved fondue. Things were simpler then too; the Pet Rock was the most popular gift in 1974.

Speaking of Christmas parties, this next advertisement is a must read. If this were printed today it would be burned in the public square; back then, however, it was all in good fun. Here's the print:

"He who entertains, be he bachelor or married man, cannot be ignored in our anthology of parties. It is not uncommon today for a man to hold a guys-only party, usually to play cards or watch a sporting event on television (and the holiday season is a favorite for football fans). The men only affairs are never elaborate. A simple menu and a simple setting are all that are necessary. If wives are involved, their part is to help see that everything is prepared and set up, and then to disappear (to their women-only tea). The number of guests is then limited to the space around a table or the number of comfortable seats around the television set."

Men-Only parties aside, Christmas gatherings should be about togetherness and family. However, I think most people have Brady Bunch or Norman Rockwell expectations that everything will be absolutely perfect. This leads to the after-Christmas blues where maybe everything wasn't as perfect as you envisioned: Uncle Norm drank too much nog and shocked the children with some expletives, the turkey was dry as jerky, the ungrateful kids whined about their presents, and your sister-in-law seems to somehow become less friendly with each passing year.

But that's what it's all about (Christmas Vacation taught us this valuable life lesson), and that's why Christmas Rush (1947) may be my favorite Norman Rockwell Christmas painting of all. It's the most honest and best encapsulates the true feeling of Christmas: It was great, but, damn, I feel like I've been beat like a rented mule!


  1. I had a better Christmas this year than last. Last year I got in an argument with several relatives and stormed out of my grandmother's house. Everybody seemed to get along. I remember some of those wild office parties of the past. I can remember some of the wild parties of any nature that I once attended. As I get closer to 40, I seem to prefer something a little more quiet and classy I guess.

  2. Yeah, those office parties are often the pits. The BBC version of The Office I think encapsulates it pretty well.

    The days of throw down parties are long over for me, I think. Like you, I prefer them reserved and classy these days. Still, drunken keg parties with Nugent's "Stranglehold" blairing from the speakers hold some fond memories nonetheless.

  3. Boy, you can just smell the sexual tension between those fellows in the guys-only party story. Whew, it's gettin' hot in hee-ah!