Who’s ready to party like it’s 2014?
Tonight I’m attending my first Christmas party of the season, one of my favorite aspects of the holidays.
I’ve been watching plenty of YouTube videos to learn new dance moves.
The holidays are for celebrating, and whether it’s a relaxed work dinner at Glenwood’s vaudeville show or a rowdy white elephant gift exchange in a friend’s living room, parties have helped make many of my favorite memories. There’s a deck party in Carbondale I’ve attended in the last few years that hands-down provides the most fun I’ve experienced.
That’s really saying something for that party town.
The annual deck party — festivities typically spill outdoors — involves a white elephant gift exchange where wit is key to gift-giving. The white elephant gift exchange involves people picking numbers, then choosing a wrapped gift that can be anything from strange and wacky to desirable and classic. I’ve seen everything from a can of Spam and a whoopee cushion to a fancy wine opener and a mini leg lamp from “A Christmas Story” fame.
The latter is best-exhibited in a front window.
For white elephant exchanges, I find it’s best to hit the thrift stores to find that one-of-a-kind gift that only comes from repurposing vintage and creepy-looking elves or old Elvis Christmas albums. The key to the perfect white elephant gift is finding something that people want to keep. Because once it’s opened at the party, the person next in line, and the people that follow, can steal the gift. At this particular white elephant party, the steal can be challenged, which is why things are taken outside to the deck. There can be dance-offs in the challenge, and I have participated in one myself that involved tap dancing and shedding of layers.
Dance-offs can get a little hot in front of a wood-burning stove.
I’ve also seen a yoga-move battle and a snowball fight ensue in this Colorado-centric white elephant challenge. People can be passionate when they’re battling over homemade chocolates and bottles of whiskey. The $10-and-under white elephant party will always be one of my favorites, and if anyone needs ideas I have many years of experience of shopping for the shenanigans that ensue. Once I bought $5 worth of Taco Bell gift certificates and a bottle of Bean-o. Another year I couldn’t resist the excuse to regift a Vanilla Ice CD.
Any As Seen on TV gift is a winner, too.
The Shake Weight is good for a few laughs, mostly thanks to the “Saturday Night Live” skit that can easily be found through a quick web search. I feel like the famous brand’s Comfort Gel Toilet Cushion might go over well at a white elephant party. I may have a whole comedy bit poking fun about them, but Snuggies actually make a useful winter gift when getting cozy on the couch watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I just ask people try not to wear them out in public. Specifically, at a pub crawl.
Believe me, that has happened.
I also love a good holiday work party that motivates people who don’t get out much to party like it’s 1999. I’ve seen this in person, when the quiet guy from accounting has one-too-many amaretto sours. The next thing the party knows, he’s on the dance floor with his safe, navy blue-striped tie around his head. Lucky for these party types, lamp shades can be hard to come by in hotel conference rooms. I’ve also seen that happen at a party.
And I wasn’t even the culprit.
Work holiday parties can get out of hand because as America’s workforce, we’re conditioned to be on our best behaviors at the office. Once away from the constraints of desks, computers and staplers, we forget about meetings, deadlines and reports and let loose. I’ve always been the kind of worker to have fun and let loose in the office no matter what, so I never really needed the annual Christmas party to reveal my inner partier.
That might explain why I freelance for a living these days.
I do get a kick out of the dance moves that the Bobs from accounting pull out when a live band plays. And I’ve enjoyed watching an otherwise serious boss lose the jacket with the elbow patches and take a girly lemon drop shot with his subordinates. The holidays are for celebrating and making new memories, after all. Even if some of the partygoers might want to forget them later.
Especially on Monday at work.
April E. Clark will be on her best holiday behavior tonight. Santa is watching. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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One of Phil K. Walter’s favorite memories of his FBI career is when his wife pitched in on a case.