Frankly, I'd rather eat a pallet of ribbon candy, dive into a vat of wassail, or suffer from tinsel lung, than attend another Holiday Party. I have egg-nogged, mistletoed and Yankee-swapped my way through so many of these parties, I'm still in therapy.
Therefore it's my duty to call for a Kringle holiday party moratorium.
Now you're ready for the human gauntlet. Here's the problem. You have two hands -- one carrying a cup, the other palming a plate. Your host wants you to meet Uncle Wally. "You two should have a lot to talk about." I'm a writer and he fixes sump pumps.
So, I need to put down either the drink or the hors d'oeuvres. There's no place to put either, so I balance the plate on the egg nog glass to shake Wally's hand. You have be a Shiva with multiple arms to make this work or you're give the Stainmaster carpet an opportunity to live up to its name.
After many years of this balancing act, I invented the walkable "Party Tray." This ingenious device is cinch to use. Just slip it over your shoulders and put your tray in the down position. It come with a drink holder and an expandable place for your plate. Now you are hands free and ready to move away from Wally and to the bathroom to avoid public projectile vomiting. (You can order the optional napkin/air sickness holder through BakeMuse Labs)
This may be too risque for the younger crowd. 50 and under. December is official cleavage season. You enter the party and the woman in cubicle 7 who looks like Dame Judy Dench or Sister Wendy now resembles an extra on a Russ Myer film.
I am not complaining mind you, but as a trained scientist, I must be a passionate observer. Women will see the same cleavage and say, "Oh, what a lovely dress." Men think, well they don't think, they just go into a kind of stupor. Guys are like crime scene photographers. They need to continually look and snap mental photos of the swell of the breasts. Then your spouse says, "don't you think the dress is lovely?" You croak out something that resembles a language and then in a act of desperation say, "hey, have you tried the crab dip?"
Only Bill Cosby can wear a sweater in public and get away with it. But the holiday party is a social anomaly. Men are usually draped in a wool sweater with a large reindeer, moose or a cardigan festooned with tiny candy canes. The sweater smells a lot like mutton and you can see the poor slob trying to scratch an itch that's formed just a millimeter from your farthest reach. Like a mangy cat, you're forced to move toward the nearest edged wall to scratch yourself. Just be thankful that one cycle in the washing machine will turn it into a doggie sweater.
4. The Bathroom. Part 1.
40 people. Two bathrooms. You do the math. A party of any magnitude will result in a studio 54-like line. Usually, the guy in front of me turns and says "sorry, this might take awhile." I've just recovered from the cleavage and now I'm dealing with a stranger's life-long battle with constipation. You just pray that the host has installed an industrial-sized fan. One more bit of advice, it might not be a bad idea to bring along your own plumber's snake just in case of emergency.
5. The bathroom. Part 2.
Timing is everything. If you enter the bathroom late in the party cycle, something is usually missing. No toilet paper. No soap. No hand towels. In desperation you open the cabinet beneath the sink and discover the sordid medical history of your hosts. There's always an embarrassing array of items including fungal creams, feminine hygiene products, soap on a rope with a tiny hair on the soap and a vat of "personal lubricant" which I can only assume is for very dry skin.
Well, I have to go. My neighbor is pulling a Clark Griswald by stapling 60,000-watt bulbs to his roof and my wife is going sweater shopping.
Have a reasonably happy holiday.