This is Fuck You Week, Jezebel's first annual week of desperate emotional cleansing and unhinged psychic purging.
I love the platonic ideal of a holiday party: velvet party dresses, hot toddies, tinsel, that Christmas Tree Smell™. But I hate the reality: overbooked weekends, rancid eggnog, sloppy-drunk coworkers who make inappropriate jokes about mistletoe. Therein lies the problem with the holiday party, and with the holidays in general: expectations. Holiday party season incites the ultimate FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), but gift-wrapped.
If you're not surrounded by your best friends and a significant other, clad in something sparkly, with a glass of champagne in one hand and a thoughtfully chosen gift for your host in the other, you've failed. Whether you're a guest or a host, holiday parties are too often more pressure than they're worth.
"Are you going to any fun holiday parties this weekend?" my friends all start asking me as soon as the first week of December rolls around. Why do holiday parties become social currency? If you don't get enough invitations, you're a loser who will die alone, without even a stale fruitcake to keep you company. If you're attending a few, they will all inevitably be on the same weekend — or, more likely, on the same night — and you'll spend more time commuting from holiday party to holiday party without actually holiday partying in the first place.
(Then there's the Christmas Envy. Oh, the Christmas Envy. Sure, us Jews get eight nights and some chocolate coins. Christians get fairy lights and elaborate ornaments and carols and piles of presents and cookies for Santa. Christmas is just so much more aesthetically pleasing than Hannukah! We do have latkes — I'll give us that, they're fucking delicious — but, as anyone who has ever tried to host a latke party knows, they're also fucking time consuming to make.)
Do I sound like Scrooge, the ultimate holiday party pooper? Perhaps. I wasn't always like this. I used to purchase holiday party appropriate clothing — pyrite gold shift dresses and sequinned capelets — that I'd wear for a few hours at a friend's co-worker's foggy-paned apartment before spilling something smelling of cloves all over my front. I used to go for quantity over quality (the more invites, the better), glamour over good people, and, overall treat holiday party-going like a competitive sport. But I'd emerge every January with a bloated belly from too much baked brie, a mulled wine hangover, and fuzzy memories of repeating embarrassing anecdotes over and over again thanks to holiday party fatigue. Every January, I think to myself, "next year, I'm staying home."
So, this year, I'm staying home. I am, I swear! Or, you know ... maybe I'll go to one or two. Hmm, where did I put that sequinned capelet?
Image via Pressmaster/Shutterstock.