Ho-Ho-Holiday Parties

This time of year gets so busy.   There's shopping to do, decorating to be done and lots of parties to attend.

At least there used to be lots of parties.   As our group all married and many began families, the parties dwindled a bit due to other responsibilities.  Not to mention the drive to the ˜burbs; adding an hour to the evening for a party commute is hard for many.

Still, Hubby and I always had two parties we could count on: his office party and my office party.   It was fun to know that we had at least two reasons to get dressed up. It didn't matter that these parties were more of a requirement than an option. The events were always festive and we left feeling a bit more holiday-ish.   Not to mention the free food and drinks.   Always a plus.

Over the years, we ™ve attended some great work parties. Really good parties, especially my work parties.   I ™ve always worked for large companies that hosted a big bash for the holidays.   One year, there was a Vodka bar and cigar room.   Another year, a very popular band played and we danced until the wee hours.   With close to a thousand in attendance, you could always count on someone to do something that would be the talk of the office for months to come.   Yeah, we saw you wearing the tablecloth as a toga while dancing on-stage with the band.  Dude, you really need to practice your karaoke skills.

Hubby's office parties were nice too, just a bit more, well, sedate.   People were guarded, knowing that their antics would easily be remembered in such a small crowd.  Even when the company provided a nice band and dance floor, no one moved an inch “ they all became statues, frozen in place. Heaven forbid anyone walk across the dance floor on the way to the bar; that could be mistaken for some new casual dance called the stroll .

Challenge at both parties was always names.   Hard to believe you can see someone everyday and then draw a blank when it's time to introduce them to your significant other.   Hubby and I worked out a system years ago to make sure we're good with names.   No, I ™m not going to tell you “ then you ™ll be able to recognize it when I don't remember your name.

And there was usually some sort of internal office party as well.   You know, the kind where each department has a lunch or snacks or a cake “ something to lighten us up as we continued to work at a frenzied pace.

Funny how I miss these parties.   Would never have thought I would feel this way, considering we usually had to miss another event in order to attend one of our work parties.

When a lay-off hits, one doesn't consider that there will no longer be a holiday party to attend.  No small talk with colleagues, no after-party stories about so-and-so wearing a lampshade on their head.    No need for Hubby and me to use our tried-and-true system for remembering names.

We don't realize how much of our social life revolves around work. Just attending meetings or grabbing a quick lunch with colleagues is social.   All that ends with the lay-off.   And it's weird.

It's cruel to lose this social element at the same time you lose your job. There should probably be something about this included in the lay-off packet everyone receives as they walk out the door. Here's a list of new non-working friends for you to socialize with, since those who remain will be working so hard they won't be able to call you .   Or something like that.

We're slowly learning to replace the office holiday party with other events but it's not the same.   For some reason, sharing cheese and crackers at the kitchen table while talking to the dog just doesn't have the same holiday flair as sharing holiday popcorn with co-workers around a conference table.   Although the dog loves the added treats.

I ™m sure there will be a time when we ™ll have work parties to attend again and they will probably conflict with other plans.   We ™ll probably complain about having to get dressed up and drive to wherever to see so-and-so dance with a lampshade on his head.   The dog will be upset that we are no longer having crackers and cheese with her in the kitchen.

Boy are we looking forward to it!

© Tami Cannizzaro 2011 All Rights Reserved

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