This is a season of parties. Yes, I know that is a complete cliché. But it is also true. You’ve got your office party, other people’s office parties, friends’ holiday parties, friends of friends’ holiday parties. I’ve noticed that people whose birthdays are in December get really aggressive about celebrating their birthdays and often have No It’s Not a Christmas Party Thank You Very Much parties, where they work through their anger about a lifetime of 2-in-1 presents.
Which, you know, cool. I like parties. I’m not a monster. I’ll put on a poufy dress and get tipsy on free drinks. (And by the way, I know that when writing about holiday parties you are contractually obligated to mention drinking too much eggnog, but I have yet to go to a party where actual eggnog was being served. The thing of it is, is that eggnog is actually not really a very good party drink. In my opinion. Who wants to get all full of cream and eggs when that space is needed for booze and cookies?)
Anyway, the point is that December is a time of much socializing. And yet I spent last Saturday at home on the couch, re-watching Serenity, eating fajitas, and drinking martinis. I’ve noticed that this happens every year, right around the 15th or so. The party glut starts to take its toll. Between us, Frank and I had probably three or four different things we could’ve gone to on Saturday. If there had been only one, we likely would’ve ended up going, but rather than do all of them or decide between them, we just decided to fuck it and stay home.
This is not uncommon, and it is, to me, the key paradox of the holiday season: everyone who throws a party knows that there is tons of competition, so in order to have a decent-sized get-together, they cast their net super wide, inviting everyone they’ve ever emailed. Therefore, all people get more invites from random people they don’t care about, and therefore the perceived value of an invitation is driven ever lower. And therefore, you end up on the couch with a blob of guacamole on your sweater. QED.
See, people always talk about party fatigue, or hangover fatigue, or treat bloat, but that is not really what the problem is, I don’t think. It’s that moment where you sit down and go “Okay, so I can go to that guy from my office’s friend’s party, or that girl who so-and-so used to date’s party, or my ex-roommate’s new roommate’s party. What’s it gonna be?” The only smart answer to that question is “How much vodka is left in the freezer?”
Still, though, there are some people who soldier through the whole thing, going to all the parties and chit-chatting their way through hours of small talk with people they only tangentially know. I salute these people—they have a kind of social stamina that I will never possess. But even they are hurt by the invitation glut. Going to all those parties thrown by people they don’t care about takes away a little piece of their joy at going to the parties they do care about. Plus it probably makes them fat.
So let’s all agree, next year, to stop the glut. If we all pledge to only invite people to our parties that we actually would like to hang out with, then the problem will be solved. Everyone can attend just the right number of holiday parties, and peace will reign in the kingdom. It will take a leap of faith not to put that one dude from your old job that you used to kind of talk to in the break room on the invite list, but stay strong. We can do it. Together, we will make invitation glut a thing of the past. Maybe I should get some ribbons made or something.