A Tale of Two Christmas Parties

Like jumping from a hot tub into a cold pool, or going from paddling around the Keys to wandering around a crowded IKEA, we have found it often takes juxtapositions to really make it crystal clear what we value and prefer in life. This weekend past provided just such a juxtaposition.

Corporate Christmas

Friday night was a corporate Christmas party for Mr PoP’s work. These are the kinds of parties we are expected to love. Free booze, fancy cheeses and other catered food, lots of loud music and dancing. As (still relatively!) young, child-free professionals, it’s expected that these kinds of events will be right up our alley and have us getting down to “this sick beat” (Trademark – Taylor Swift) on the dance floor. However, as introverts, these kinds of events aren’t really where we renew our energy sources… Luckily, over the years we’ve figured out how to make the best of them and have fun (Pro Tip – no heels and not bothering with makeup goes a long way!) since we know that some folks expect us to be there having the time of our lives.

Truth be told, I was even kindof looking forward to going. Mr PoP looked adorable in his suit, and I put on a lovely little silk cocktail dress. We spend so much time these days seeing one another in gym clothes and paint and grout splattered jeans and T-shirts that it felt nice to dress up a bit! The food and drinks were great, and the company was even better – it was nice to catch up with some of Mr PoP’s coworkers that I’ve met over the years but that we haven’t had over this year with the house in the midst of our giant remodel. So when we had our fill and left, we were both pretty happy with how the evening had gone. Our attendance had been noted (by those who take these kinds of notes), and I daresay we managed to enjoy ourselves and get out before the music got to loud and other attendees got too drunk. A success on multiple fronts!

It was the next night when the contrast to corporate Christmas hit home.

Hippie Christmas

Saturday night was the night of our town’s Holiday Boat Parade*, where boat owners deck their boats out with Christmas lights and play Christmas music while parading in a line up the river (after sundown so the lights look most spectacular) through town while Christmas parties are hosted all along the parade route, from fancy parties in backyards of multi-million dollar homes to impromptu gatherings of strangers at public viewing spots along the parade route. This year, we were invited to view the boat parade up close, from kayaks launched from the backyard of a friend who lives about a mile from our house.

So while Friday night had us dressing up, Saturday night had us dressing down. We borrowed a kayak (and the appropriate safety gear!) and launched with a few other folks from our friend’s backyard. We paddled around a bit, watched the parade from the river, and paddled around the river some more visiting with party goers on land and at sea (and being treated to food and beverage by said land and sea party goers) before heading back. Then we closed out the night with a small potluck of good food, BYO-drinks, and hanging out around a campfire chatting. It was a minimal cost to everyone involved, including our wonderful host and friend who arranged it. Mr PoP and I found it somuch more enjoyable than the extravagant holiday party we had attended the night before.

The Contrast Made It Clear

It’s not that there was anything wrong with corporate Christmas. In all honesty, Mr PoP’s work does a nice job throwing a great holiday party for employees and it’s lovely that they include partners. It’s a great time for me to put faces with names that I’ve heard throughout the year. That said, I’m pretty sure I speak for both of us when I say we wouldn’t complain if we were never expected to attend another corporate Christmas.

On the other hand, we’d love to see Hippie Christmas become a tradition. Hanging out on the water with old friends and making new friends was, for us, the perfect expression of what the holiday spirit is. It’s not about dressing up or multi-course meals on fancy dinnerware or an open bar (though Hippie Christmas did have its fair share of booze, too!). It’s about spending time and connecting – without our electronic devices. As our kitchen starts to look more and more… well, like a kitchen, it’s evenings more akin to Hippie Christmas than corporate Christmas that we are looking forward to hosting.

We’ve both got 2 more Christmas parties to attend this week. Here’s hoping that they end up more like Hippie Christmas than Corporate Christmas!

* I don’t know if this holiday tradition is uniquely Floridian, but it seems like pretty much every town down here has a holiday boat parade.

12 comments to A Tale of Two Christmas Parties

  • One of my favorite things about my old company’s holiday party was bumping into random people that I’ve worked with over the years and catching up. It’s also not a bad party. Thankfully my partner still works there and I can tag along as his +1! A lot of people I know have left though at this point so maybe this year’s party will be less interesting.
    Leigh recently posted..2016 Investment PlanningMy Profile

    • A lot of Mr PoP’s old coworkers that I’ve grown to know over the years have moved in the past couple of years, so there were definitely some new to me faces at this Christmas party. But it was still a good time even though I felt like I didn’t know as many people as I did last year!

  • It is usually too cold her to have a boat parade :-) But there are various low-key holiday events. We have skipped most this year, as toddlers don’t really understand Christmas, but we will go to our work Christmas party. It’s not super fancy and is usually fun enough, so I like that.

    I too look forward to hosting at home more. We had a coworker and his family over at the spur of the moment on Saturday, because we had cooked a big pot of chili and thought to text him. It was great to hang out with his wife and kids too. Our apartment is pretty small, so these types of hang-outs are limited. We should be moving to a bigger space soon (I think I’ve mentioned this — it’s being built, so the timeline is uncertain), and I can’t wait to host again. We previously lived in an apartment that was small but had big common areas, and we loved hosting gatherings. Sitting around, chatting, and maybe busting out some board games is my idea of a wonderful time.
    Leah recently posted..ThankfulMy Profile

    • Yeah, we are spoiled by the warm winter weather. Though last weekend even Baltimore/DC temperatures hit the 70s! So they could have had a boat parade if they knew it was going to be that warm. =)

      You have mentioned the bigger space your school is building (I can tell you’re excited for it!) and it sounds like it’s going to be awesome for you guys.

  • That sounds like fun.

    It’s true usually we need to see the two things close together to realize the differences.

    I usually enjoy corporate Christmas because to us its a free date night and I do love dancing. However those events can get overwhelming with drunkerds and overly loud music.

    But I am looking to family Christmas parties coming up
    The Roamer recently posted..Getting Laid………..OFFMy Profile

    • Ahhh, dancing isn’t really in the PoP repertoire. In fact, I think Mr PoP fell in love with me when very early in our dating he attended a college dance with me that I was “required” to go to and after realizing that he wasn’t having fun told him to leave and that we’d catch up later.

  • The hippie Christmas sounded like a load of fun. I’m not a big fan of corporate Christmas party either, except in my company it means I’m off work earlier on these days.
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  • That kayaking Christmas sounds way more fun. Like you said, nothing wrong with a company event, but it’s hard for a work function to compete with something you’d simply choose to do as a couple on your free time.

    And the older I get, the less I like dressing up. It’s like I’m reverting to my childhood sense of fashion, always wanting to be in jeans, a t-shirt, and my Roos.
    Done by Forty recently posted..The Upside of SpendingMy Profile

    • I know what you mean about reverting to childhood fashion – I love my grown-up sized jelly shoes! Though I am glad I haven’t reverted back to wearing green osh kosh b’gosh overalls… I lived in those when I was little!

  • Lucas

    Have fun at the rest of your Christmas parties :-) We just have family ones this year, which will be nice.