Monday, December 25, 2006

A Christmas Party.

All throughout my adult life I have thrown occasional parties. I like the idea af getting my friends together, along with whatever random individuals that show up, and seeing how they react. If things get a bit slow, I can shake something up with a mild provocation or two. It used to be easy to throw together impromptu parties by inviting everyone over at one time- I'd get a couple of cases, order pizza (or not)... and that would be that. As my group of friends got older, married and/or more settled, I found that I had to plan these things out ahead of time. I'd give people a week or two notice and make a bigger deal out of it. Unlike when we were younger, I'd need to actually include food in addition to alcohol. Anymore M. and I throw just one party per year- our annual Christmas Night party.

Having a "get-together" on December 25th probably seems like an odd choice. Of course many people are spending the day with families. But you might be amazed to learn just how many folks are ready to end their day with a party. For many, Christmas with relatives is particularly stressful. A host of anxieties await the intrepid visitor as they encounter in-laws, disliked cousins, and recalcitrant uncles. Everyone tries to make some obligatory conversation about common topics that no one is truly interested in. When it comes to family, most people don't get to pick and choose... and this can get pretty awkward. It's a relief then to go to a party of one's choosing. It's like entering a decompression chamber. And the level of involvement and participation is up to the individual.

The other advantage about picking Christmas is that we aren't competing against a hundred other activities (like Halloween or New Year's). Traditionally, once you've left your families, your Christmas is over. There's nothing much open... so it turns into another routine night at home. If you are someone that truly enjoys the holidays, this can feel anti-climactic and a bit depressing. Why not cap it off with some revelling? Get a head-start on New Year's Eve. If you don't have to work on the 26th, why not overindulge and spend the final part of Christmas with your friends?

Now that our Christmas gig is an annual affair, there is a sense of continuity. I have several friends who ask me weeks beforehand whether or not we are doing "our Christmas thing". They seem genuinely excited, and I believe they'd actually be disappointed if we didn't do it. It wasn't our intention necessarily, but we are now associated with their Christmas traditions, and bound up in the whirlwind of activity that surrounds the day. It's a bit of an investment in time and money to prepare for, but it's our gift to the people we love being around... and completely fulfilling. At the same time, it's also a lot of fun to see the cast of characters that show up at our door from year-to-year. We invite lots of people. but we never know what to expect. One year we had terrible weather and about eleven people huddle together in the living room, drinking and watching movies. That was just as fun for me as the year sixty people showed up, spilling out into every inhabitable space of the house.

In a couple of hours, people will start arriving for this year's version. I'll be running around, taking people's coats, getting drinks, and trying to make sure that people are comfortable. If you can't be with us tonight I'd like to wish you a Happy Holiday, and hope that you are pleased to be where you are. Maybe you'll consider starting your own holiday tradition party. I think it's a good idea (as long as you aren't competing with mine).


Anonymous jefg99 said...

Best wishes for another successful party! I've had the privelege of attending a couple of them, and enjoyed the variety of chats and experiences. Were my situation as it was back then, I'd be there tonight with a case of cold beer. I'd even be do my part by picking up all forms of bottles and other debris the next morning. Enjoy your time off.

9:14 PM  
Blogger Dagrims said...

Hope your party was a great one. Sorry I didn't get the chance to give you a call back.

We are having our second annual New Year's Eve Warm-Up this year. We have a party/open house from 4-8 so that people can either treat it as a pre-party to their evening's main event, or their main party because they can't find a babysitter for the evening. That's why we started having it, because we were stuck at home each New Year's Eve anyway.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Rob Park said...

Great party and great prescience.

My sentiments exactly.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Yeah, we had a great time and it went quite late.

It's interesting to hear what specific concept and format of party people work into their lives.

12:00 PM  

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