Posted by: donrhymer | December 7, 2011

Christmas Parties

“Tis the season…” to spill a discount Merlot on someone’s carpet because you’re desperately trying to avoid your neighbor Ted who for some reason is wearing fur antlers and starting every conversation with “Jingle- Jingle.”

It’s Christmas party season once again and I thought it was high time someone spoke out about this annual inhumane atrocity that has brought so much pain and suffering to so many for so long.

When tackling a national problem like Christmas parties… or the foreclosure crisis, I think it’s best to start by breaking down the issue and examining it from all sides. There are basically three types of Christmas parties.

The Office Christmas party – I think in terms of natural disasters, office Christmas parties rank right up there with tornados. The utter devastation to careers, marriages and copy machines can only be calculated in the billions.

Think about it, human resources spends three-hundred and sixty-four days a year burying you in memos, seminars and email reminders, daring you to even sustain direct eye contact with a fellow employee and then one night a year, they throw you in the conference room, turn the lights down low, ply you with liquor and let the chips fall where they may. It’s like taking a bunch of Amish kids who’ve never seen MTV and dropping them off at Spring Break in Cabo. Shit is going to get broke.

And office Christmas parties always end the same way with three interns and Dave from accounting shoving leftover turkey sandwiches in their pockets so they can have something to eat for lunch tomorrow. Your best bet is to stop by, shake your bosses hand, politely dump your gin and tonic in a plant and get the hell out of there while you still have a job.

The Neighborhood Christmas Party – Usually initiated by some well-meaning: ie annoying – neighbor this is the one party a year where you can be completely confident that fifty percent of the participants were drug there against their will by a spouse.

Plus let’s face it, people don’t really know their neighbors anymore. You mostly relate in passing as you drive by their houses on the way to someplace else you actually want to go.  You might not have anything in common with them other than the fact that sometime in the last twenty years you both made a somewhat similar real estate decision and now you are bonded by proximity for life.

It’s like if your Dad married his favorite cocktail waitress and now you’re stuck with possibly psychotic stepbrothers and sisters who leave their trash cans on the street for weeks at a time. And since you don’t relate with your neighbors a lot of issues build up over time and all of it goes unsaid. So when you finally come face to face with your them at the yearly Christmas party everything on the surface is civil: “Oh, that’s right, you live in the blue house on the corner.”

But what you’re secretly thinking is: “Blue? Seriously, you painted your house blue! No, it’s great. I always wanted to live on Sesame Street. Maybe you could do us all a favor and build that new addition with gingerbread.”

The good news is that these parties are usually brief, it eventually occurs to everyone that the idea of  “getting to know your neighbors” is in fact a really, really bad idea. We build houses with walls to keep out the elements and with windows so we can peek out and spy on our neighbors and wonder what in fact they are feeding that dog and why does he find it so convenient to crap on our lawn.

Your Friend’s Christmas Party  – The couples you actually like. You’ve known each other for years, you’ve coached Little League together, you were playground monitors together, you cried like babies when your kids graduated high school together, maybe you even vacation together. These are your friends and friends of friends, so why do these parties so often fall flat?

It’s because we’ve gotten lazy and complacent and next time we will talk about some suggestions guaranteed to make those Christmas parties memorable.

You see that’s called a “tease.” It’s supposed to make you really excited about the next blog entry. Don’t be. That’s way too much pressure and I have enough performance anxiety as it is. I prefer to work in an atmosphere of malaise to outright melancholy. So, let’s keep those expectations in that general range. Thanks.



  1. Thanks a lot Don. I didn’t realize we were inconveniencing you. See if you ever get invited again to our Christmas party.


  2. Don, I think I broke something falling out of my chair with the “Amish in Cabo” reference! Thanks for a great laugh. Office parties….when I started working, it was “what can I get away with in the confines of the office”!

  3. HI Don,
    For 15 yrs. Ann and I have invited you and Kate to THE party. You have never shown, now we know why. We like our blue house, blue walls, blue lights and sometimes blue personalities.


    Best wishes as always


  4. You are right, “shit is gonna get broke” and i think it’s gonna be you after the neighbors start burning their Christmas trees in your front yard. Good luck with that…Merry Christmas!
    p.s. your fruitcake is on the way!

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