Posted by: chlost | February 4, 2013

Every party has a……..

My office did not have a party over the Christmas holidays. I have only worked there full time for the past year, so I didn’t realize that they hadn’t had a holiday party for many years.

So, crazy person that I am, I offered to host a holiday party at my house. The wrinkle was that things get so busy over the Christmas/New Year holidays that I didn’t want to try to squeeze in a party then. If I was going to host, the party would have to be on February 2nd-Groundhog Day.

We have a fairly small office. Four support staff, several part-time employees (attorneys, staff and law clerks), and five full-time attorneys.

I pictured a large winter fun day. We have a small hill in our back yard, so we could do sledding, and if the weather was nice we could have folks walk down to the river and explore a bit. My plan was for families to join the party,so we could all put faces to the names of the family members each employee discusses daily at the office.

To make it simple, I asked everyone to bring a dish to share. I would provide a main dish and all of the necessary utensils. Simple, fun and inclusive.

Saturday, when the groundhog’s spring forecast was announced, I was happy to learn that spring has been predicted to arrive early this year. We also had a fresh coating of snow….perfect for sledding.

We did have the party on Saturday. It was a nice sunny day. The snow was wonderful.

There were approximately eleven adults and four kids. Our two oldest grandchildren were here, as well, so there were 6 kids, all under 6.

No one was interested in sledding except our granddaughters. The kids essentially chased each other around the basement, sometimes coming upstairs to find food.

The adults stood around the kitchen island, eating the appetizers, drinking soda, and chatting. No one brought any alcohol except a couple of bottles of wine. Despite my repeated urging, they did not move to the more comfortable seating in other rooms. Even though we inquired, there were no takers for a game of pool.

When I finally gave in and put all of the main dishes out for a buffet-around 5 pm- everyone sat at the kitchen table or stood around the island to eat. Again, no one took advantage of the other seating that was available.

I have decided that I am a terrible host. I don’t know how to throw a party to make it fun. I had high hopes for this one. It seemed to me that for those that came to the party, there was a sense that they had to come. People didn’t seem to be there expecting to have a good time, and they didn’t.

After the party, I realized that with the exception of the boss and his wife (who are very odd people as well as being my age), everyone else was the age of our kids. My party was for “kids” in their early thirties and their families.

Maybe office parties are by definition boring. Maybe I am just seen as being boring. Maybe……I don’t know. It was just so disappointing. And believe me, I went to a lot more work to pull this party together than it sounds. I ended up with a lot of leftovers and a very stiff back and knees.

It will be a long time before I do it again.

On Sunday morning, our granddaughters went sledding on our hill. We had a great time. They know how to have fun.

Happy Groundhog Day!



  1. From a distance it sounds to me as if your guests just did not come prepared to join in or give anything themselves! You can lead a horse to water:) It is not just the host, it is also the guests who make a party go with a swing. It sounds to me as if all the ingredients were there to have a fabulous time: health permitting – I would certainly have done so. So don’t blame yourself. One thought, do you think that the generation involved just do not know how to be real kids and have fun? Or perhaps no-one dared to be the first to go on a sledge? I am sorry you feel disappointed but quite understand why: it happened to me on New Year’s Eve 2000, a real wash out. Some people just prefer to be very quiet but it does not mean they did not enjoy themselves. Well done for having a go anyway. XX

  2. Goodness! What are they like to work with? You sound like an excellent host, ‘you can take a horse to water but you can’t make him drink!’

  3. I don’t think it was you. I’m sorry that with all your effort, it didn’t turn out as you expected. I don’t understand the refusal to sit – that’s just odd.

    There is a woman in our office that hosts a holiday party every year. Every year, I decline. For me, I prefer to keep work and personal life separate…I can talk to people at the company party, but I wouldn’t be comfortable in someone’s home. I’m not an outgoing person anyway, but the setting is just too personal for a co-worker relationship. I don’t know how to explain it, other than I’m just strange!

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