December is here and the holiday season is in full swing. That means for many there are more parties than you can possibly attend or enjoy. The busiest night this season seems to be 12/12/12. It may not mean anything special but many people figured it was an intriguing date on which to have a party. Thus far I have five invitations for that evening. In my misbegotten youth I may have attempted to go to all of them but now that age is taking its toll I will politely decline all but one or two.
Though aging quickly I am still a working stiff so like so many others it is important to separate invitations to parties from friends and those from business associates. The business ones can be fun but they are easier to turn down than one from a friend.
Everyone knows that holiday parties come in all shapes and sizes. And for some of us when the season is over we end up wearing a bigger size. The invitations range from a casual, “hey just drop in sometime for eggnog,” to that glittering gold or silver invite addressed in calligraphy to the black tie event at some hotel. Then there are the small black tie events, which most of my straight friends tell me they don’t get invited to. It seems that gays are much more into black-tie at-home dinner parties. There just is something about getting dressed to the nines that intrigues us. I do remember many years ago I lost a friend when I showed up not dressed in what he considered up-to-snuff for his black tie event. I thought, obviously wrongly, that I was being festive in wearing something different but it clearly didn’t match his vision of what the dinner table would look like once everyone was seated.
These days most of the invites I get are received by email, you know that very personal attachment known as the Evite. Because I work in the non-profit sector for an organization that books meetings for my members, something I share with thousands of others in the area, we get information from hotels, cities and towns across the country all year long. But the holiday season is a time when each of them wants to invite you to an event to either say thank you for doing business with them or hoping to entice you to do so in the future. It is helpful that over the years many of those representing various hotels and cities have learned that it is better to join together and give one party so at least they all get to see potential clients and can make their soft pitch over cocktails.
Aside from the parties, there is the food delivered to your office from suppliers and others with whom you do business. I think over the years the amount of what gets sent has trailed off a little but my staff always looks forward to certain supplier gifts. There is that huge box of Godiva Chocolate from one supplier; the edible arrangement with chocolate covered strawberries from another; then there is the huge gift basket with Ghirardelli chocolates and butter cookies; and then those great bourbon pecan pies. If one of those doesn’t come in on time everyone in the office looks at each other and asks if we offended them somehow — or maybe they had a bad year? I look forward each year to the beautiful tin of delicious home-baked cookies that one of my past board presidents sends.
So while many of us will party till we drop, overeat and over drink during the holidays, it is important to take a moment to remember that some people don’t get all the chances we do to do that. There are those who are homeless, unemployed or just in poor health. Many in the Northeast are still suffering the repercussions of Hurricane Sandy. And so many Americans and people around the world are struggling just to make ends meet. So I urge everyone to take a moment and say thanks for what you have and then see if you can’t share a little of your bounty with someone less fortunate. Whether you make a donation to UNICEF; the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund; MetroTeen AIDS; SMYAL; Whitman-Walker Health; Us Helping Us; or any other charity of your choice I can pretty much guarantee you will feel really good because you made the holiday season a little more festive for someone else.