The Holiday Party
Monday, 30 November 2009 05:17
Written by Lindsay Stewart Glor
Party A – The work party
Disaster potential: High
It will be easier to survive your workplace holiday party intact if you strike the word “party” from the title. This will sufficiently lower your expectations, and perhaps clarify your goal, which is to make it known that you attended (and therefore support the company and all its crazy policies) and network with important people outside your usual group. Think of it as work, with better outfits and free wine. It sounds simple, yet no matter what kind of party it is, there are sure to be a few landmines to maneuver around. Here are two key things to think about:
1. Dates—Everyone expects you to bring a date, but they expect that date to either be your spouse or similarly long-term partner. This is not a potential first date night, nor is it acceptable to bring a friend. If you are single, go it alone. Dress well, behave yourself, and leave early if you’re bored. Under no circumstances should you take this as an opportunity to a) hit on the new graphic designer, or b) make out with a girl attending the holiday party down the hall.
2. Drinks—Most of us have a work party we would rather forget and the reason is usually alcohol related. Drinking too much can lead to any number of regrettable situations (a revived junior high break dance routine, an ill-advised heart to heart with a superior, etc.). Be social, have a drink, hit the dance floor, but pace yourself.
Party B – Christmas with the in-laws
Disaster potential: Medium to high
Really, this one could go a number of ways, depending on your relationship with your partner’s family, and how long you’ve been around for. A key factor might also be whether or not alcohol is being served. The best thing to do for this party is prep yourself by asking your partner a few key questions:
1. When is the party, where is it and what time are we expected to be there? While most women will love to tell you these details ad nauseum, some will inadvertently forget a key detail, like, oh this year the party starts at four, but dinner is at nine. If you are fully informed you can better make key decisions, like having a snack before you leave or dressing for an unusual venue (oh, didn’t I tell you we were going on a family hay ride?)
2. Is there any topic that is off limits? This is especially important if you are new to the family. The last thing you want is to be caught in an anti-hunting or pro-life conversation with someone who feels the exact opposite of you, especially if that someone is your future father-in-law. There is a time and place for healthy political debate and this isn’t it. The goal in this situation should be to relax and enjoy your evening, while still coming off as well as possible. The great thing about in-laws is that they have memories like elephants and will never, ever, forget that time you got in an argument with Uncle Tim about the City’s new garbage receptacles or your comments about Cousin Sarah’s undercooked turkey (yes, it was raw, but you earn no points for stating the obvious).
Party C – Cocktails with her friends
Disaster potential: High
There are few social situations more fraught with disaster than the first party with your girlfriend’s friends. You will never be more judged, that’s just a fact. As she knows what you’re in for better than you do, might we suggest letting her take the lead on a few things, namely what you wear. At least let her make a suggestion. Women are harsh judges of fashion and also love to give new people nicknames. You don’t want to forever be known as “pointy shoes guy.”
Next, make sure you bring something to drink that you don’t mind sharing. You cannot be the guy sitting alone in the corner drinking the last four beer you found at the back of your fridge. Bring a case
of beer to share, or, if a woman is hosting, bring a bottle of something holiday-esque, like sparkling wine or Bailey’s. Pour a few girls’ drinks once you get there and they will defend the next stupid thing you do. Another fact.
You must also brace yourself for the unexpected and roll with it. Yes you thought you were going to a fabulous downtown mixer and you ended up in the midst of an intense game of Settlers of Catan. Just pop open a beer, grab the dice from the nerd on your right and join in.