The Myth Of The Holiday Party

As I looked at yet another roundup of glitzy, frilly, festive holiday apparel today, I suddenly couldn't help but wonder: who's actually going to all these fancy "holiday parties?"

Don't get me wrong: I and most of the people I know go to our fair share of gatherings come December. There are casual open-houses, and latke parties, and hot drinks, and even an office party or two. But none of these calls for the sequin-shrouded, champagne-filled fantasia that fill magazine pages.

I'm sure there are some jobs — PR, maybe — that involve plenty of corporate sponsorship and lavish open bars and themed cocktails and maybe even the occasional bejeweled clutch. But that's like .02 percent of the population: come December, is everyone else just really overdressed, bullied into buying something "festive," standing around clutching a paper cup in someone's apartment kitchen?

I get it, I do: it's hard not to be swept up in the festive frenzy. Just yesterday, I found myself thinking, My goodness! I don't have a pair of sky-high sparkly party heels!
You aren't going anywhere, I reminded myself. But… New Year's Eve! screamed the part that's susceptible to advertising. New Year's Eve is when people get really dressed up!
You'll be at home eating takeout Chinese, came the dreary voice of reality. And if you want, you can wear the glitzy dress you bought last year for "Holiday Parties."

The "holiday parties," in my mind, all kind of look like a Kate Spade ad: lots of beautiful people laughing and dancing while drinks garnished with peppermint sticks twinkle in the foreground and Ella Fitzgerald sings. Then they throw on coats and run, laughing, through the snow, to go to another such party. No one has panic attacks outside the doors of said parties or sits in a corner awkwardly trying to look knowing, or is a friend-of-a-friend of the host who really hopes the host knows that she brought that bottle of wine on the table. The mulled wine is never bitter and overcooked with a sad hunk of purplish orange sitting around in the middle.

But maybe those people are secretly wishing they could be at home, eating sesame noodles and watching White Christmas. Maybe their feet hurt. Maybe they wish they didn't have to keep shelling out for hostess gifts. Maybe they aren't actually invited, but just go around crashing things to justify the purchase of all this festive finery. Which, now that I think about it, is not a bad idea.

[Image via Shutterstock]