Upon reading this title, you may be thinking to yourself, "Sarah, how could you be stressed out by Christmas parties? You're 19 and you live in a single - you've never had to host a Christmas party in your life!" That is completely correct. Therefore, the stress these parties inflict upon me is even worse than you were thinking it was. I only have to be around them in order to practically start breaking out in hives. Call me a grinch if you want, but it's a simple fact: I rarely want to even touch Christmas parties with a 49 1/2-foot pole.
Let's start with college-style Christmas parties. As frequent readers of my blog and/or my friends know, parties in general are not really my forte. They're fun, don't get me wrong. But think of all the stresses involved! Who should I go with? What time should I get there? Will there be people there I know? What if the cabs at main circle don't have enough room for us all? So many questions. At Christmas, it's even worse. It's cold outside, so the question arises of whether to bust out the cute skirt and risk hypothermia or stay warm but settle for jeans. You have to deal with Christmas sweaters, too, which is complicated. Obviously, you can't repeat a sweater. At some point, you will be forced to borrow a sweater from someone else, meaning you now have to be extra-careful with it, because whoever you borrowed it from probably has to return it to her grandmother. In other words, college Christmas parties are one giant hot mess of stress to deal with.
Then there are the Christmas parties of the rest of the world. You know the ones - you clean up the house or rent a space somewhere, you invite a bunch of people over, you make a table full of hors d'oeuvres, you throw on the holiday Josh Groban, and you hobnob for several hours. These parties are the worst of them all. As choir directors, my parents have two of these every year: one for the all-adults church choir and one for the high school show choir. This year, these two stress-fests happen to fall within three days of each other. My house is in full party-prep mode, and I am about ready to rip the perfectly-arranged garland off of our mantle and strangle myself. I don't even know if it's humanly possible to strangle oneself, but I'm game to give it a shot.
The church choir party is unquestionably the worse of these two. Now that I go to college "far away" in the "big city" of South Bend, these people only get to see me about three times a year, and this party is their only chance to actually have a conversation with me. And converse they do. They ask me how college is going. I never quite know how to answer that question. My grades are, like, pretty good or something, but I feel like a huge jerk if I actually tell them that. They already know everything about the choir I'm in, so I can't really tell them much about that. I have nothing to say to these people. Generally, the "Yeah, it's great" that I muster up probably leaves them thinking I'm completely miserable at college. Nope. I am only miserable here and now in my living room. This year's party was somewhat resurrected by the grandbaby that someone brought along, who was hobbling around being cute the whole time, but even that stressed me out - the baby's parents were in my high school graduating class. Thank you, cute baby, for the reminder that people my age are adults now or something, while I continue to be pretty much the farthest thing from "adult" that has ever existed. At one point in this party, somebody plugged their camcorder into our television, and I was forced to watch fifteen minutes worth of choir concert home video. At three points, I was so overwhelmed that I snuck away to my room for fifteen-minute Pinterest breaks. Tonight is the show choir party, and honestly, I'm too traumatized thinking about the last party to even think of anything witty to say about this one. The food's a little better for the 15- to 18-year-old set, so that's a plus. I still predict copious amounts of Pinterest-ing.
A few days ago, the children's choir sang - and I tagged along to take pictures - at a Christmas party that looked like a decent idea. It was populated by most of the rich people in town and held at the recently-opened local winery/let's-not-kid-ourselves-this-is-a-BAR. It was cool, I suppose. You wouldn't have to worry, as the host, about making the food or cleaning up the house or anything. However, you would have to worry, at the end of the night, a bunch of drunk forty-somethings somehow getting home and making a decent impression on their teeny-bopper babysitters. Ultimately, I feel like it'd be kind of like a college party, but it's socially unacceptable to show up in a reindeer sweater you picked up at Salvo. All around, then, this one still isn't ideal.
Family Christmas parties are an entirely different brand of "shoot me now," and I'll cross that bridge when I am inevitably forced to come to it. The moral of this story, though, is that I literally cannot deal with Christmas parties. When I grow up, I hope to eventually be rich enough to have people on my personal staff who can do things like plan parties FOR me, because I just don't think I can handle the stress of planning one on my own. So, future friends, remember: I will come to your parties. I will buy you nice presents. I will make you lovely Christmas cards from the DIY instructions I found during all those old Pinterest breaks. Just please, do not ask me to host next year.