By Anne T. Donahue
Word has it I like to go to bed early and stay in a lot, and that is because I have personally spread that word. And yet, I do like to have fun on occasion. I like to eat dinners at restaurants. I like to wear outfits to places that aren’t rooms in my house, and I like seeing people I like while stuffing my face with food I love.
This is to say: I love a holiday party.
And who doesn’t? Who are any of us to put ourselves above tiny foods and delicious beverages? I am not beneath Christmas cheer and Christmas memories, especially if the only thing I really have to do is show up and bask in the glow of my wonderful friends.
So this is a guide to ensure your own holiday party offers what everybody (I) want(s). Should every party revolve around me? Yes, but I also understand that this desire is unreasonable, and it’s especially unwelcome at weddings and funerals. So consider this a “universal” guide, on behalf of me, a person who is bossy and assumes that when it comes to social outings, my demands are the important ones. Happy holidays!
Have a shrimp ring – actually, have six
I cannot stress this enough: shrimp rings are the most delicious and exciting party food every offered in history. And I’m happy to bring my own, but if that’s what you need me to do, then know I will consume the entirety on my own because I have absolutely no self-control.
The more shrimp rings, the better. Nobody has ever had a bad time at a party in which there was access to cold, refreshing shrimp, and if they have, I do not wish to know them.
Start early, for the love of all that is good
Now that it gets dark at 4, some of us (I do) feel like 7 pm is basically midnight. And that’s okay! We (but especially me) are aging at a phenomenal rate, and find comfort in going to bed by 10 pm and watching the Food Network until we pass out. Enter: early parties.
And I don’t mean “early” like 4 p.m., which the ideal nap time. I mean, like, 6. 6 30. 7. Help make it an outing without making it the reason all small talks begins consisting of “wow, it’s so late!” or “I’m so tired!” Let some of us show up while the food’s fresh and the drinks are cold, and then let some of us leave in time to make it home for the new Beat Bobby Flay. You can have it all, provided your party starts immediately after geriatric dinner.
Make people take their shoes off
This actually has nothing to do with me having a good time, this is just something I think people should do — especially in the winter, when our shoes are disgusting to both look at and wear. Salt stains on your floor?! When you’re being kind enough to let us into your home? Absolutely not. I will not stand for it. So if making this request feels a little too demanding, simply invite me to your home and I will scream at everyone to act like a person and not a possum who just traipsed through some road slush.
Do not force games upon anyone
Board games can be fun, don’t you dare get me wrong, but believe me when I say nothing like forced fun makes a good time instantly terrible. Some of us (hello again) cannot play board games like regular people, and will ruin the evening by screaming in the faces of relative strangers because they keep forgetting how to play Clue. (You’re lying, Cheryl!)
Should games be introduced, do not be the person to do it. Should chaos descend in the form of rules, regulation, and dice, ensure that it isn’t your problem and therefore not your fault if friendships end and relationships combust. Games happen. Crimes Against Humanity refuses to die. But when this development officially begins, be brave enough not to sanction it by holding up in a different room who know party games ruin lives.
Aspire to Kevin McAllister’s fake Christmas party with the Michael Jackson cut-out on a toy train
I am 38 years old and I still consider Kevin McAllister’s fake party he uses to deter robbers the pinnacle of fun and good taste. Why? Easy: Brenda Lee is absolutely blaring. People (Kevin, a mannequin) are dancing. It’s bright and festive, but not in a way that gives “weird office social.” Is there food? Probably! The boy had the ingredients for excellent sundaes, so we can only assume. And better yet: it lasted, like, two hours tops.
And for the love of all that is good: one (1) non-alcoholic alternative
I kid, I kid. There should be two to three. Odds are you know at least one beverage goblin, and it’s a source of joy for them to juggle three different beverages simultaneously while guarding a corner of a shrimp tray. Also, please stay away from my corner of the shrimp tray.
Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!