Holiday Parties


The other afternoon/evening was my company's holiday party.  Since being purchased by the corporation back in 2019, I have not been to an office holiday party.  I always worked in NJ and the company parties were thrown in the NYC office.  To me it was not worth the time and effort; I'd rather just go home.  (You knew that about me, right?  I'm a party pooper).  However, seeing that we no longer have a NYC presence, this was being held here, so I thought I'd check it out.

For the record, I've never been a big party person.  (So it's not just that I'm old that makes me a party pooper; it's pretty much what I have always been.)  I'm not all the comfortable for a multitude of reasons.  One being that I don't know many of the people.  Case in point:  One of my first jobs after college was for a company that had 2 small NJ locations and a PA location.  I had only started working for the company in late October and the holiday party was held at a restaurant in early December, which was also around the time of the annual sales meeting.  That helped, as I was just getting to know the outside reps (some of the nicest guys who I can still remember by name:  Leo, Carl, Mark).  However, there were a lot of people I didn't know.  Including the guy at the bar who towards the end of the evening introduced himself with a "Hi, I'm Al" and gave me a big kiss on the cheek.  Al, was the president of the company...and this was my introduction!

Another reason I'm not a party person is because of my allergies.  It's always a challenge to find something that I can eat and I don't like calling attention to my "issue."  (If I'm going to call attention to myself, I want it to be on MY terms.)  So I really don't eat.  Which is a challenge when the party is held at a restaurant.  This was the case for several years before my current company was purchased.  We went to some okay places (where the room was on the lower level and there was a pole that divided the room and the dining set up!) and some grand places (where there was a room on the upper level that included a "bridal" bathroom area with  a shower!).  After a long day at work, I wasn't up for an extensive and expensive meal that I couldn't really eat.  I was almost always the first one out.  (Which also felt awkward.)

Finally, there's the question of drinking.  If I'm driving, I don't want to do it.  I'll admit that a glass (or more) relaxes me.  I suppose it's a social crutch.  However, I rarely do so at holiday parties because I have to drive home.  (Side note:  this is why I really DO enjoy my neighbor's holiday gatherings and other social events.  I can have several drinks and then all I have to do is walk down the block.)  One of the reasons I went to this year's office party is that I knew that I would be taking public transportation to get home.  I wasn't sure that there would be alcohol (it is, after all, a pandora's box), but there was wine and beer in addition to soft drinks.  Not knowing many people, getting half a glass of wine was something to do until I was able to find someone to chat with.

And I will admit that it was nice to chat with some people.  Again, I didn't know many, but I was introduced by people I knew to others.  (Of course I'll never be able to remember their names or what they do!)  I did keep an eye on the clock as I didn't want to rush out for the first express bus, but I also didn't want to get stuck.  (I'm fine with local buses during daylight hours, but I prefer not to have to stand around and wait for a bus after getting off the city subway.)  The last express is at 5:20, so I made sure I was on my way out by 5ish.  (Which means I spent about an hour out of the three-hour slotted time.)  There would be no prizes for me.  (The ugly sweater/holiday wear competition is pretty fierce anyway.)

My 5:20 was late, but at least it came.  Then it got stuck in traffic on the way out, which was also no surprise.  However, I was grateful that someone else was handling the stress of traffic while I could sit back and (try to) relax.  My son is home from college (semester 1 over!) and was able to pick me up when the bus dropped me off.  (We have a designated spot so that I have a short walk and he has a short drive.)  While I don't mind walking uphill (God knows I need the exercise...those holiday pounds have been packing on), it had been a long day.

That's my take on office (semi-obligatory) parties...what is your take?  Am I alone in not being a big fan?  Or does anyone else feel the same?  And why?  Let me know.  

And if you DO end up going to a holiday gig; have fun but be responsible.  (Remember: co-workers ARE judgy!)


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