The War On Christmas....Parties, That Is
Plus, a P.J. O'Rourke stocking stuffer and Christmas music treasures
It’s December 1 today. Or as we optimists like to think of it, the beginning of the end of the year. For those of us who don’t work in retail, where Christmas season now kicks off shortly after St. Patrick’s Day, the date does signal that Christmas is now bearing down on us like a freight train, as we are helplessly lashed to its tracks. Meaning it’s time to break out your tasteless Yuletide accoutrements: the “kiss me under the mistletoe” belt, the Sweet Baby Jesus ugly Christmas sweater, the Jeffrey Epstein Christmas ornament, which reminds us that “this ornament didn’t hang itself.”
But we shouldn’t let these trappings distract us from the true reason for the season: acting like fools at Christmas parties. Which is why I thought I’d kick off Christmas month by dipping into the archive to republish a story I did several years back, which in my humble opinion, stands the test of time. It’s not about the fabled War on Christmas – which I’m guessing Sean Hannity will have covered again this year, as he does every year. Because Christmas is no time to take the month off from scaring the bejesus out of your viewers, even both of your Jewish ones. (Jared and Ivanka.)
Rather, it was concerned with the very real war on office Christmas parties, or as they’re now thought of: future HR complaints/civil suits. In other words, it’s about the never-ending War on Fun. After the piece, stay tuned for a P.J. O’Rourke Christmas book bonus, along with some of my off-the-beaten track musical Christmas picks. (As in songs - I’m not a musicals guy, Christmas or otherwise.)
As we celebrate this Christmas season (or this “holiday,” for Christ-haters), I don’t wish to be a killjoy to the world. But reflecting on the year gone by, it’s hard not to notice that we have lost a few of our favorite things: Tom Petty, political moderation, our dignity.
And yet, as we’ve hunkered down throughout the year to weather every storm from Hurricane Harvey (the tropical cyclone that nearly destroyed Houston) to Hurricane Harvey (the film producer/sex-criminal who has all but destroyed famous men), there seems to be another death that has barely registered—that of the open-bar office Christmas party.
It is a time-honored tradition, and in Dilbert-ified America most cubicle monkeys know the drill: Don your smart-yet-festive sweater vest. Show up to your company’s voluntary holiday gathering, where absences are informally noted by supervisors who will passive-aggressively punish the missing come January. Pretend you enjoy socializing with colleagues that you wouldn’t invite over to your house on a dare. All while drinking until your liver cries uncle, or until Jones from purchasing miraculously transforms into a sparkling conversationalist.